Toledo reaction to election of Pope Francis - Toledo News Now, News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Local reaction to election of Pope Francis

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) -

The election of the new pope was closely watched in northwest Ohio. Now local Catholic authorities are weighing-in on the decision.

It's not often that Toledo Catholic Diocese Bishop Leonard Blair admits he was nervous, but that's how he felt Wednesday afternoon when the white smoke first appeared at the Vatican.

He spoke not long after Pope Francis made his first appearance to the world. The bishop said he doesn't expect Pope Francis to stray from the doctrine of the Church, but he does expect some changes from the first pope from the "New World."

"Everybody looks for people with new ideas and a perspective that will enliven the Church and renew the Church, and I think that is inevitable that this happens, and it has got to happen, and it should happen," Blair said.

Francis is also the first pope from the Jesuit order, known as the Society of Jesus. This caused excitement at Toledo's St. John's Jesuit High School.

"A lot of times we have reputations of being very liberal of very conservative," said Father Thomas Doyle of St. John's. "I think it does demonstrate the full spectrum of the Society of Jesus. It certainly confirms some of the work we've been doing, especially in the realm of social justice and social ethics."

The chair of Catholic Studies at the University of Toledo, Peter Feldmeier, said that as Cardinal Bergoglio, Francis showed a warm, caring demeanor, and he has what it takes to move the Catholic Church forward.

"He is very conservative theologically about traditional family values and the Church's teaching about the family and sex and so on," Feldmeier said. "At the same time, he has reached out profoundly to victims of HIV/AIDS in Buenos Aires."

Bishop Blair said all Catholics should rejoice, and pray.

"May God grant him long life, health, and strength for the road that lies before him," he said.

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