David Crabtree on Assignment

Catholics jubilant over choice of new pope

Posted March 14, 2013

For the first time in several days, Rome saw sunny skies Thursday, and the mood of the city matched the weather.

People celebrated the selection late Wednesday of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, Argentina, as the new leader of the Roman Catholic Church. The anxiety that followed last month's resignation of Pope Benedict XVI had dissipated much like the clouds and rain over the Vatican.

"I was quite excited because there was a possibility for it to be someone different," said Danielle Jordaan, a Catholic from South Africa. "It's quite good they made a decision so quickly."

Pope Francis is the first non-European to lead the church in 1,300 years, but that doesn't faze European Catholics.

"It's a good time to be more open for new ideas," said Herbert Weitzgarten, a German Catholic.

Nicholas Coelella, a seminarian from Brooklyn, was in St. Peter's Square when Francis took center stage after his election, and he said he was stunned when he first saw the new pope.

Pope Francis Selection of Pope Francis cheers Catholics

"Who is that?" Coelella said he thought. "Other than that, it was a very beautiful experience, and I was very happy to be there."

He said his astonishment is a sign to him that the cardinals made the right selection during their conclave.

As the first Latin American pope begins his mission to the world, the world will watch him closely, and those who were at the Vatican to witness history firsthand said they won't soon forget it.

"It was different," Weitzgarten said. "You can pray, and you can laugh, and you can (cry)."


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  • Tug Boat II Mar 14, 2013

    Your first statement is correct, too many young catholic's don't understand the values of charity, humility, selflessness and compassion.

  • Ex-Republican Mar 14, 2013

    ", and moved the Church into at least the 19th Century."

    burnettij, God lives outside of time and space. Tradition is what gives the Roman Catholic Church its beauty and stability as does the tradition of Orthodox Judiasm gives that religion its beauty and stability.

  • burnettij Mar 14, 2013

    Jubilant is an overstatement. I was glad they picked someone who refused the mansion and limousine, but a Pope Frances rather than a Pope Francis would have been a much bolder break with tradition, and moved the Church into at least the 19th Century.

  • Ex-Republican Mar 14, 2013

    "It's a good time to be more open for new ideas," said Herbert Weitzgarten, a German Catholic.

    Many of the old forgotten ideas are the new ideas. Ideas like charity, humility, selflessness and compassion. These ideas and ideals seem to be what Pope Francis is all about. They are a breath of fresh air in an increasingly secular world.

About this Blog:

WRAL anchor David Crabtree reports from around the world.