New pope ‘unassuming,’ says local archbishop 0
Archbishop J. Michael Miller says he met newly elected Pope Francis in 2005.
The chiming was in full swing as Catholics in downtown Vancouver shuffled out of the rain Wednesday and into Holy Rosary Cathedral upon hearing a new pope had been selected.
“The bells are a happy sign to us,” said Rector Glenn Dion to around 150 faithful just after a church member whispered in his ear in front of the crowd. “Before mass started, I didn’t know who it was, but now I do … Cardinal Bergoglio Jorge Mario from Argentina is now Pope Francisco.”
After a deep, group sigh applause echoed throughout the cathedral.
“Francisco – I love that name,” Dion said. “St. Francis catches the theme of a man who loves people, a man who loves creation, a man devoted to the service of the church.”
The new pope was appointed after a surprise retirement announcement from outgoing Pope Benedict XVI. The appointment of Francis is the first time since the eighth century the Vatican has chosen a pope from outside of Europe.
In front of the cathedral, Vancouver Archbishop J. Michael Miller praised Pope Francis as being a simple man who lived in a small apartment and took the bus to work.
“It’s a marvellous step,” Miller said. “He was and has been very well known for being a close advocate of the poor.”
Some leaving the mid-day mass said they see the new pope as a more moderate one and hoped he will bring the Catholic Church into a modern era. Miller didn’t answer direct questions on the Francis leadership, including one about birth control, but said he met the new pope in Rome in 2005 when living in a residence.
“He was a very nice kind of gentleman ... he’s very kind of unassuming,” he said. “He’s not the kind of person that when he went into the room sort of all the lights went out, but of course being pope it’ll be different.”
Meanwhile, in Quebec the mother of Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, who was also being considered for the position, said she was relieved to hear her son was not chosen, as it would have meant giving him up to the world.