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Local Catholics taking to humble pontiff
Glenn County Catholics are pleased with the selection of a South American as the new pope.
"We are excited and really happy," the Rev. Octavio Ventura said on Wednesday.
Ventura is with St. Monica's Catholic Church in Willows.
He said Pope Francis I is a very "humble man" who is very knowledgeable about Catholic doctrine.
The new pope also is the first who is not European, Ventura said, and is "the first American in our times."
Pope Francis is from Argentina where he was known as Jorge Bergoglio before taking his papal name.
The 76-year-old pontiff last served as the Bishop of Buenos Aires.
"We needed someone with a different tradition," Ventura said.
Ventura added the pope's election was very fast, which indicates the church is united in Pope Francis' selection.
"The cardinals are all on the same page," he said, "which is a very good sign."
In Orland, Sidney Klawitter expressed happiness Thursday at the pope's selection.
"I am very grateful," Klawitter said, "very surprised, but grateful."
As a Catholic, Klawitter said he is pleased to see someone from South America chosen.
He added Pope Francis is a "very humble guy" who prefers to ride a bicycle or walk rather than take the pope's limousine.
"I was surprised," he added. "I thought it would be somebody else."
Klawitter said he expected an Italian to be named, but it did not happen.
He said most Catholics he has talked with since the vote say they are happy, too.
The Associated Press reports then Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio often spoke about the economic inequities in a profit-driven world at gatherings with other Latin American bishops.
He also warned church leaders about drifting from core Catholic values and teachings, officials said.
Both of these messages are expected to frame the beginning of the papacy of Pope Francis: reinforcing the Vatican's views on birth control and women's ordination, the AP reported, which may disappoint those favoring reforms.
However, the activist in him may please others by pushing for greater attention to poverty and international debt.
Pope Francis also has reportedly shown interest in outreach to Islam and Judaism, and efforts to close the 1,000 year estrangement with the Orthodox churches, the AP reports.
His historical namesake, St. Francis of Asisi, is said to have walked unarmed to meet an Islamic ruler during the 13th Century Crusades as a gesture of respect and shared humanity.
In his first Mass on Thursday as pope, Francis called on all Catholics to help "build" the church and "walk" with the faith.
He also cited the words of French writer Leon Bloy, an agnostic who experienced a strong religious conversion before his death in 1917: "He who doesn't pray to the Lord prays to the devil.," the AP reported.
The AP also quoted church historian Ambrogio Piazzoni as saying "To focus on the new pope as only a traditionalist is wrong, as is only to focus on him as a champion for economic justice. He is both and much more. This will be a papacy of complexity."
His membership in the Jesuit order also is likely to influence his papacy along with a Latin-American inspired view that Jesus' teachings imbue followers with a duty to fight for social and economic justice, the AP said.
The Associated Press
contributed to this story.