New comments will be added as they are received
“Ever since Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI announced his plans to resign, the more than 115,000 Catholics in the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City have been praying for the cardinal electors and for whomever they would choose as Bishop of Rome and Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church,” Archbishop Coakley said.
Fr Carlos Mullins, a priest from Argentina who has worked for many years with Argentinians in the metropolitan New York area.
"I met him in Argentina. The last time was in the Basilica of Our Lady of Lujan. He was auxiliary bishop to Cardinal Antonio Quarracino, who had been our teacher in seminary. He was a very low profile man, always behind the cardinal, a very humble, quiet man. He didn’t like to talk too much.
"I invited him here one year to say the Mass in honor of Our Lady of Lujan, but he had another commitment.
'In Buenos Aires, he was talking about social justice, and for people who didn’t have jobs; he was against corruption in government, and this is why he had a bad relationship with President Nestor Kirchner and now his wife [current president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner] because he was very critical of the economic situation in Buenos Aires.
"As archbishop of Buenos Aires, he liked to be in touch with all the priests. He’s very well accepted by them. Nobody can say anything against Bergoglio. There isn’t any accusation that he was too strict or unjust. He didn’t even protect priests accused of pedophilia or something that was wrong. What I hear from the priests is that he is v well accepted by all the priests in the archdiocese.
"It’s true that he prepared his own food and decided to take public transportation rather than having a limousine and a driver. One day he said, “The people take buses and subways,” so he did the same. He was one of the neighbors; he didn’t want any particular privilege in food or transportation.
"A bishop who was living in the same house for some time said he got up every morning at 4 o’clock and dedicated one hour to prayer and meditation. We can say he is a man of prayer. His leading the people in prayer [from the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica when he was first presented as the new pope] was a good invitation. It reminds us that the value of a person is not based on what he has. It’s what we are, not what we have, that is important. That’s the message of St. Francis. "
John F. Brehany, executive director of the Catholic Medical Association
"I am very pleased by the election of Pope Francis. As I waited and prayed before the election, it was hard to know who could be a worthy successor to our last two outstanding popes. The qualities that enabled the College of Cardinals to quickly unite in their election of Pope Francis are now coming into view: personal humility and love for the poor; consistency and courage in witnessing to all of the teachings of the Church, especially those most rejected in our times; a commitment to evangelization in word and deed; a strong intellectual formation — enough to allow him to see through popular innovations such as liberation theology; and extensive experience in leadership in the Church. In retrospect, Pope Francis now seems like a logical choice. Now let's see what the Holy Spirit has in mind for him and for the Church."
Austin Ruse, president of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute
Judie Brown, president of American Life League
Matthew Bunson, professor of Church history at Catholic Distance University and general editor of The Catholic Almanac
"His name tells us almost everything we need to know about him and the direction of his pontificate. We have in Francis someone who was profoundly humble. If we’re searching for one word that will encompass his pontificate, it is that word: humble, or humility.
"Francis was one of the most humble saints in the history of the Church, but Francis was also a great reformer, and he was a reformer because of love for Christ.
"Pope Francis is the first Jesuit, the first Latin American, to become pope. That in itself—the first Latin American—tells us a great deal. We recognized the distinct possibility heading into this conclave of someone from outside of Europe. The specific choice is for some of us something of a surprise.
"Still, looking back, knowing he was the runner-up in the Conclave of 2005, and he’s been a continuing presence in the Church, especially in Latin America, he represents the recognition on the part of the College of Cardinals the immensity of global Catholicism now. I would argue that the key to this is the New Evangelization. Look at what the Synod of Bishops said in October of last year, that the New Evangelization is a work of the entire Church. Yes, we continue to rebuild Christian civilization in Europe, but we also bring the entire Church into that enterprise.
"(Cardinal Bergoglio) taught literature, psychology and philosophy and served as Jesuit provincial in Argentina. He notably distanced himself from Liberation Theology very early on, at a time when it was gaining wide currency in Latin America.
"We know as well from his many years as archbishop of Buenos Aires that he’s absolutely solid and committed to the culture of life. We know that from his contretemps with [Argentine] President Cristina Kirchner in the areas of homosexual “marriage,” abortion, contraceptive mentality.
"He’s also close to the Communion e Liberazione movement.
"However long his pontificate is going to be, I think we can anticipate a very powerful spiritual reform in the Church. I think he will bring reform also to the Curia. He seems very focused, if you read his opening address, on Rome itself. I think he’s very cognizant of the fact that he is now bishop of Rome and talked about promoting Christian civilization in Rome itself. "
Msgr. Stuart Swetland, vice president for Catholic Identity and Mission at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Md.
William Thierfelder, president of Belmont Abbey College
"It’s amazing that we live in a world where you can “be” in Rome through live streaming. You don’t have to go back that far to a time when that wasn’t possible. It’s a privilege just to be able to witness it.
"I always have that feeling or sense of the Holy Spirit being present. The election of a new pope is a rare opportunity to experience Christ’s words, “You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church.” It’s remarkable that we get to sit here today and witness that happening again—the Holy Spirit still working in the same way, guiding the Catholic Church.
"If I’m not mistaken he was a theology professor at a university in Argentina, so obviously he’s someone who has an appreciation for higher education. I think what’s important from a Catholic perspective is the development of the whole person…becoming a well-educated, well-formed, well-prepared person to hopefully go out to the world and serve others.
"He just struck me as a very humble man and I think we have a lot to learn about him as the days unfold."
The Catholic Action League of Massachusetts
"The Catholic Action League of Massachusetts today hailed the election of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina as Pope Francis I. He was elected on the fifth ballot of the conclave which followed the abdication of Pope Benedict XVI.
Mike Aquilina, author
"I'm delighted to read about the new pope. What an inspired choice! In the run-up to the conclave we saw so many "experts" advocating one sort of candidate or another — an Italian or NOT an Italian, an American or definitely NOT. Here's a guy who's an Italian, but not an Italian, an American, but not a NORTH American. Everybody wins. What a Catholic conclusion. From all accounts, he seems a very humble and holy man, and that's the best news of all."
Fr Brian Mullady, O.P., mission preacher and frequent EWTN host
"It was a good idea to go to someone from the Spanish-speaking world because they make up a huge proportion of Catholics, especially Latin America. And if you’re going to go outside of Europe that makes the most sense. From what I understand he’s an academic but someone who relates to ordinary people. He’s also doctrinally conservative, which of course is very important, that he doesn’t try to change basic teaching. But the emphasis on social justice is something that will open people more to hearing him."
Fr Joseph Fessio, S.J., founder of Ignatius Press and a former student of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger:
"I’m happy not only that he’s a Jesuit Pope, but that he’s a Jesuit who is not in favor among a lot of Jesuits, which means he’s sound. When he was touted as a possible candidate in 2005 there were Jesuits who sent around emails and things trying to tarnish his reputation, saying he never smiled, that he was way too rigid and that sort of stuff.
Fr Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life
"It’s a great choice… He has been a member of the Pontifical Council for the Family, which of course oversees pro-life and pro-family activities for the Church. No doubt, he’s going to be strong on these issues… Overall, the fact that he’s from Latin America is very good for the Church – it will revitalize efforts around the world related to the pastoral care of Latinos…"
Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage
I believe Pope Francis will follow in the steps of Pope Benedict XVI and provide a consistent and strong voice in support of marriage and children. Our prayers go out to him as he leads the world's over 1 billion Catholics in the weeks, months, and years ahead."
Fr. Myles Sheehan, SJ, Provincial of the New England Province of Jesuits
Paul Thigpen, editor of TAN Books
"I was taken totally by surprise–Jorge Bergolio didn't seem to be on anyone's radar screen. Even so, it's curious that he was rarely mentioned among the "frontrunners," given that he reportedly had the second largest number of votes in the conclave that elected Pope Benedict XVI. Perhaps he should have been receiving more attention.
Fr Shenan J. Boquet, president of Human Life International
Fr. Bob Spitzer, president of Magis Institute
"This Pope is a remarkable man who I never would have predicted to be chosen. I think he will carry out the mission of the Papacy exceedingly well. First and foremost, everyone views him as a living saint with great fidelity to the Church and a deep concern for the poor – nothing could be more important than this foundation – and then layered upon the foundation is high intelligence – including the sciences and the humanities (as well as languages) and a proven administrative capacity. I also hear that he is “politically astute.”
"I think it is very important that he comes from a non-European country because the Church is so strongly represented by Latin America as well as other non-European nations that are currently constituting the new world economy and the new geopolitical framework.
"I understand that despite his age, he is in good health, and will be able to serve the Church for many years. I am very proud of him as a brother Jesuit who will manifest the true character of St. Ignatius’ vision for the Society of Jesus.
"It is rumored that he has taken the name “Francis” not only after Francis of Assisi but after Francis Xavier which shows his interest in the world Church and in its mission to bring Christ to all humankind."