Parishioners at St. Francis Assisi church in San Francisco had some questions and concerns regarding the conservative values of the new pope, specifically on gender roles and homosexuality. Terry McSweeney reports.
For the first time, the Wednesday evening Rosary at St. Francis of Assisi national shrine in San Francisco's North Beach district, was said with a namesake as pope. Earlier that day in Rome, an Argentinian Jesuit was named as the 266th Pope, who took the name "Pope Francis."
Father Gregory Coiro, the shrine's director in San Francisco, sees significance in that name.
"By choosing Francis, he signaled a path to help the poor and a return to a simpler, more pristine attention to the Gospel," Coiro said.
Susan Fox is a lifelong Catholic and a member of the Women's Ordination Conference, which for decades has worked to bring some of the 600 million Catholic women into the church's positions of power priests, bishops and cardinals. She, like many others, is hoping for a more progressive spiritual leader. "Women are the backbone of the church, 60 percent of churchgoers are women," Fox said.
Fox reveres the law of God; it's the laws of man she has trouble with.
"Canon 10:24 is the church law that prohibits women from serving in those positions. It's a manmade law, it is not Gods law."
Paul Riofski is co-chair of Dignity San Francisco, which calls for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Catholics - and their families and friends - to be able to fully participate in all aspects of church life. It's a message the group has been advocating for many years.
"Our love, our sexuality is blessed by God intrinsically. I'm not talking about a ritual or ceremony. That he blesses us and made us as we are," Riofski said.
Fox may not see a track record in the life of Pope Francis of inclusion or greater tolerance but in a church which believes in miracles she's hoping for one in her lifetime.
"The Holy Spirit did it before with Pope John 23rd, and I'm hoping she does it again."
Many Latinos were also happy about the choice of the new Catholic leader, who hails from Buenos Aires, Argentina.
"I'm very happy. I'm happy it's the first Jesuit Pope," Ruben Solorio said. "Secondly, he's from Latin America, so I can identify a little bit more with some of the life that we all live here as Latinos in our community."