Will Francis I live up to his namesake?
A Red Deer Catholic priest is intrigued by the new pontiff’s choice of a name.
Father Martin Carroll of Red Deer’s Sacred Heart Parish said it is the choice of Francis I, as the Pope’s new name, that intrigues him the most.
“St. Francis was a quite a reformer,” said Carroll. “So it will be interesting to see what change takes place in the church as a result of this.”
Pope Francis, formerly known as Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, was elected pope on the fifth ballot during the 2013 Papal Conclave on Wednesday. Pope Francis is from Buenos Aires, Argentina, and became archbishop of Buenos Aires in 1998.
In the Catholic Church, the Pope chooses a name and attempts to emulate the person, in this case St. Francis of Assisi, a 13th Century friar and preacher who worked with those in extreme poverty in Italy.
However, Carroll said while some change is implied by the name, the church won’t dramatically change.
This is the first time a pope has taken the name Francis, which Carroll believes would make the Franciscan community very pleased.
“Here in Red Deer we have, both at St. Mary’s and here at Sacred Heart, a group of people who belong to what is called the third order of St. Francis,” said Carroll. “People who try to live according to the Franciscan way of life and I’m sure they are delighted by the choice of this name.”
Carroll waited at home for the announcement, watching it on television, before going into his parish.
The other intriguing element of Pope Francis’ election is he is the first pope from the Americas and the southern hemisphere to take the role, and the first non-European since St. Gregory III from 731 to 741.
At 76, Pope Francis was among the older candidates considered for the role at the 2013 papal conclave, which included Canadian Marc Ouellet.
Pope Francis is also the first Jesuit priest to be chosen as pope.
He takes over for Pope Benedict XVI, who resigned the papacy on Feb. 28. Benedict was the first pope since Celestine V in 1294 to resign without external pressure.