Black Catholics find hope in Pope Francis

By | March 21, 2013

Local black Catholics are looking to the future with new hope after the selection of the first-ever Latin American pope.

Argentina’s Jorge Bergoglio, 76, was elected by his fellow cardinals as the 266th pope last week at The Vatican. He chose the name Francis, after the humble 13th century Italian saint who lived a life of poverty. Pope Francis is the first non-European pope in more than a millennium. His election came in the wake of the resignation of Pope Benedict the XVI, who is the first pope to resign in 600 years.

Francis was a longtime archbishop and then cardinal of Buenos Aires. He is the son of middle class Italian immigrants. He’s known as a humble man who emphasizes social outreach.

“He seems like he has the type of attitude … comfort is the word I want to use, that the Catholic church needs at this point in time,” said lifelong Catholic Gabrielle Mortis, 20, a senior at Wake Forest University.

Mortis, a member of the predominately black St. Benedict the Moor, said she was glad to see the first pope from the Americas elected and impressed that Bergoglio is a Jesuit, a religious order whose members are known for being well educated and having a sense of social justice. (Winston Salem Chronicle)

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