Thursday, March 14, 2013 at 3:36 AM
As the white smoke clears in Rome, Northeast Ohio Catholics are waiting to learn more about their newly elected pope. ideastream's David C. Barnett spoke with some of the local faithful about their hopes for the new pontiff
While Catholics around the globe celebrated the election of a new pope, Wednesday night choir practice at St Casimir’s proceeded as usual. This cavernous church on Cleveland’s eastside was one of 11 that were reopened last year after Bishop Richard Lennon’s decision to close them in a down-sizing program was reversed by the Vatican. Parishioner Joe Feckanin says that decision has left him optimistic about the selection of Francis the 1st by church officials in Rome.
JOE FECKANIN: I think there’s a great positive feeling, and people that I know who were very dissatisfied with many of the things going on through our American bishops, are now going to have hope.
Marika Megyimori of Bay Village is looking for someone to lead her church out of the scandals and other moral dilemmas it has faced in recent years. She hopes that the world’s first non-European pope will bring a different perspective to Catholicism.
MARIKA MEGYIMORI: I think the Catholic church needs a new moral compass, because it’s at a crossroads.
Megyimori thinks many parishioners have been turned off by the conservative doctrine and stand-offish nature of the church hierarchy. She’s encouraged by early reports that the new pontiff is a simple man who likes to ride the bus.
MARIKA MEGYIMORI: I think, through his example of being humble --- not having all the trappings of the church --- he shows that this is what Jesus really is like.
Of course now, the former Cardinal Bergoglio will be moving from the bus to the Popemobile. 17-year-old Alina Stepien of North Royalton says she hopes the new pope will drive the church in some new directions, like allowing women to be ordained as priests.
ALINA STEPIEN: I don’t know if the church itself is ready for that --- I know the world is ready for it. I think that there should be some change and they should modernize.
And, she says, she’d like to see the new Catholic leader follow the example of Pope John Paul II.
ALINA STEPIEN: Not only because he was from Poland --- and that’s where I’m from --- but, I just felt like he had a way with young people. He could reach out to them. He knew how to talk to them.
When asked what she thought of the retired Pope Benedict’s attempt to reach young people through Twitter, Alina’s face scrunches up and she shakes her head.
ALINA STEPIEN: I thought it was kind of funny (laughs).
Community/Human Interest, Ethics/Religion
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