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New pope could revitalize Catholic Church, L.A. parishioners say

March 13, 2013 |  3:40 pm

Worshipers at a Mass held at the Cathedral of our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles said they were were uplifted by the idea that Pope Francis could bring widespread change to the church.

“The popes have all been from Europe, now this may be what is required, someone from the Americas who has a different perception on how life is to be lived and what it means to be Catholic,” said Marcus Anderson, 59, of West Los Angeles.

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio succeeds Benedict XVI as leader of the world’s 1.2-billion Roman Catholics. Benedict stunned the church when he stepped down last month, becoming the first pontiff to do so in six centuries.

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Anderson, who runs an outreach ministry for homeless, said he would like to see the church allow priests to be married and believes that such a change could curb sexual abuse.

Although many couldn’t list specific expectations for Francis, a common theme expressed was hope for revitalized leadership and inspiration.

Elizabeth Rodriguez, 44, said she felt as if the church had a new-found opportunity to be injected with life and energy. “We need somebody with new blood to guide the church,” she said, noting former Pope Benedict XVI’s age. “We need somebody who really can take care of us.”

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A Los Angeles resident who manages a fabric store, Rodriguez said she hoped Francis would become more involved in evangelism.

For Danny Gutierrez, Francis’ ethnic background was particularly exciting. The 30-year-old Mexican American resident of La Puente brought his wife and 18-day-old daughter to the Mass. He said he hoped Francis made an effort to reach out to Hispanic and Latin people around the world. 


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-- Cindy Chang