Pope perfect pick for poorPublished 11:10am Friday, March 22, 2013
With the inauguration of Pope Francis on Tuesday, the world’s more than one billion Catholics had a preview of their new leader’s direction for the church. At Our Lady of Victory Catholic church and school in Fergus Falls, parish leadership is optimistic about the installation of the new Pope.
Fr. Greg Paffel, who will soon leave his position for a sabbatical, said the new Pope’s Argentinean nationality and experience with struggling democracies will bring a fresh perspective to the church’s international vision on poverty, especially in developing nations.
“I’m very pleased to see a new Pope from south of the equator.” said Paffel. “Churches south of the equator have a better handle on the real problems of the world, like hunger, poverty, oppression, persecution.”
Paffel also credited the new Pope on taking his name from St. Francis of Assisi, who dedicated his life to the less fortunate and is one of the most recognized saints in the Catholic church.
“I like the name he chose, Francis.” said Paffel. “When he heard his call the Lord said to him ‘Go build my church.’ It was at a time when church was at its height of secular power during the time of Pope Innocent III.”
Deacon Chuck Kampa also believes that Francis’ background will bring the right changes for the church around the world, but also said that the Pope’s focus on unity and helping others within the community will resonate with members at OLV.
“This will help our parish because we have this new focus on stewardship and taking care of the church,” Kampa said. “And our members will see that coming down from the Pope’s leadership.”
But with different challenges facing the church across the globe, from the fallout of sexual abuse scandals to the call for more progressive beliefs from the papacy, the position Francis now takes seems to be more important than it has ever been.
Paffel believes, however, that the right changes will help the Catholic church bring members together despite their differences.
“I believe we need continued reform in the church. Church is about relationships and not simply ceremonies,” said Paffel. “Relationships with God, relationships with one another, relationships with those with desperate needs, and the poor. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.”