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Local reactions to the new pope

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Posted: Thursday, March 14, 2013 12:00 am

"It's very exciting. What impressed me the most is that he came out and asked for a blessing from the people. He's a very humble man, not a movie star.

"We trust that the cardinals know what they're doing. We have to believe it's what the Lord put in their hearts."

— Annette Murdaca, chairwoman of the parish council at St. Anne's Catholic Church, Lodi

"We're struck by how this new pope, coming from a religious order, has both an enormous opportunity and duty to help prevent heinous assaults against kids by this crucial and relatively secretive segment of the Catholic clergy ... We urge Catholics to judge him on the concrete steps he may take to stop abuse and cover-up, not on the vague pledges he may make about the crisis."

— David Clohessy, director, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (from news release)

"Pope Francis was not part of the governing structure of the Vatican. One of the biggest concerns the church has had is cleaning up what has been pretty disastrous management (scandals about the Vatican bank, the pope's butler leaking internal documents and sexual abuse scandal).

"Pope John Paul II, when he was in declining health, couldn't watch over management. Pope Benedict's gifts are intellectual but not managerial. It was interesting that (the new pope) chose the name Francis. The legend of St. Francis is that he heard the call from God to repair the church (in the 1400s). It's a powerful image for Catholics all over the world."

— Brian Klunk, political science professor and expert on Catholic politics, University of the Pacific, Stockton

"He didn't wear all the regalia. My hope is that our church will be reconciled."

— Jeanne Hanson, Lodi

"We finally got a pope who was from outside of Europe. It will give a big morale boost to the Hispanics in the church.

"From what I understand, he's a very good administrator. In the past, the Vatican has been kind of slow. I think they have too much bureaucracy. He'll probably modernize it."

— Deacon Karl Welsbacher, St. Anne's Catholic Church, Lodi

"He's an individual. He took the bus to work and lives a very simple life. He cooks his own food. I also like that he's not European."

— Patty Litts, Lodi

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