Readers Respond: What Direction Should the Church Go Under New Pope's Lead?
Check out these thoughts from our readers and then add your own in the comments.
The white smoke billowed and the new pope has been named: Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio will be the 266th pope and has selected the name Pope Francis I. He is the first non-European pope in the modern era and the first South American pope.
We took to Facebook and Twitter to ask our readers to weigh in on the choice and tell us what direction they'd like to see the Catholic Church go under Pope Francis I's leadership.
Here, their comments. Add yours in the comment section below and we'll add them to our article.
From Susan Ruegamer Moraghan, Clark:
"Stricter punishments on priests that break the laws or do anything inappropriate for a priest. A lot of people are afraid to send their kids to Catholic school because of cost, so improved tuition costs if possible. I see fewer and fewer people coming to church because there is a lack of trust. I cannot say this is happening in all churches as a lot has to do with the pastor, but I definitely have seen changes."
From Jayme Lee Morrison, Clark:
"I am a Catholic in name mostly these days, I haven't been to mass in a very long time, which for me is sad, but I don't feel like I belong in that place anymore. As a gay woman, I don't feel wanted by the church as a whole. That 'love the sinner, hate the sin' mentality still makes me feel like I am somehow 'less' than what the church thinks I should be. I spent enough time telling myself that, until I started listening to what the church had taught me that I was 'made in the image and likeness of God' and yet somehow they still see me as damaged somehow. I have distanced myself from the physical church but the basics are a part of me. I posted on Facebook that I hope Pope Francis lives up to his name - I guess I just meant that St. Francis was a rebel, he did things his own way. He was about lowering himself to less than the least of God's people because all of God's creation should be treated as equals. He was about humility and reform, and I feel like the church has forgotten about the humanity of its people. It's about rules, regulations and its image. In my heart, I hope that one day the church can become the image of love I was taught, the church that practices what it preaches."
What direction would you like to see the church go under the Pope Francis I's leadership? Tell us in the comments.