Local Catholic community reacts to selection of Pope Francis


SEATTLE - Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina was elected pope Wednesday, becoming the first pontiff from the Americas and the first from outside Europe in more than a millennium.

Bergoglio chose the name Francis, associating himself with the humble 13th-century Italian preacher who lived a life of poverty.

Bergoglio, a cardinal from Argentina, became the 226th leader of the Roman Catholic Church and the first Jesuit pope.

The selection of Pope Francis has been exciting for local Jesuits and people from Argentina.

KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter Graham Johnson spoke with people at Seattle University who felt the significance of his selection.

“We have a Jesuit pope. It’s very good news. Very celebratory,” said Kristine Sweeney.

Seattle University is Jesuit, an order of the Catholic Church known for education and helping the poor.

“We’re going to have someone leading the church who is better in touch with humanity, especially women, people in the margins and all those things,” Sweeney said.

Seattle Archbishop Peter Sartain said he isn’t reading too much into the first Jesuit pope.

“I’m also happy to congratulate all the Jesuits throughout the world, and as you know, we have a lot of Jesuits here in the Seattle Archdiocese,” Sartain said. “I don’t think that it means anything in particular. I think it means the cardinals who have gotten to know him through the years feel he’s very qualified to serve as the pope.”

Aheerrnan Goaette is from Buenos Aires and he has been getting calls and texts from people back home. The choice took him by surprise and he thinks it’s amazing to have a pope from Latin America. He didn’t think it would happen.