Jorge Mario Bergoglio Elected New Leader of World's 1.2 Billion Catholics

Bay Area Catholics Have Gender, Sexuality Concerns of Pope

By Terry McSweeney
|  Friday, Mar 15, 2013  |  Updated 4:12 PM PDT
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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.

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.

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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.

Father Gregory Coiro, the shrine's director, 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."

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, 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.", says Fox. 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 man made 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 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," says Riofski.

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."

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