March 14, 2013

Maine Catholics impressed by new pope's 'humility'

The election of Spanish-speaking Pope Francis is met with excitement and optimism for the church.

By Dennis Hoey
Staff Writer

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"I think he could be the symbol of change for our church. It's a new beginning, and he gives us hope," Pora said.

William Slavick, a retired University of Southern Maine professor, is a Catholic who has publicly criticized Malone and the church for not taking stronger positions on corporate greed, environmental degradation and the rights of women.

His initial response to Pope Francis was favorable.

"I don't think the church could have survived another papacy governed by fear," Slavick said. "They were all possessed by their fear of losing power. They turned their backs on the bigger issues."

Slavick said the Catholic Church needs a strong moral leader who is not afraid to take on global issues.

"He is a man who lives simply and pays attention to the needs of the poor," Slavick said. "I think there is reason for hope."

Philip Lizotte of Wells attends St. Mary's Church in Wells and is a member of the Catholic-based charitable organization Knights of Columbus.

He said he was hoping that a younger man, such as Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, would be elected pope.

But after looking at Pope Francis's credentials, Lizotte said he was more than impressed.

Lizotte liked the fact that Pope Francis bowed and asked for prayers of support.

"That gave me a clear message as to what type of pope he could be," he said.

"He may be 76 years old, but he looks strong," said Lizotte. "I guess time will tell."

Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

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