Dallas-area Catholics have high hopes for new pope

Charles Curran, Elizabeth Scurlock University Professor of Human Values at SMU, about Dallas-area Catholics' hopes for the new pope.


First pope from this hemisphere. First Hispanic pope. First pope taking the name “Francis.” North Texas Catholics grabbed on to facts Wednesday about the man who until that afternoon had been Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aries.

Josefina Flores of Arlington was in downtown Dallas with her daughter and heard the bells peal at the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe. They ducked into the sanctuary to say a prayer for the new pontiff.

“He comes from a spiritual country and he seems so charismatic,” she said. “I have high hopes for him.”

High hopes always accompany a new papacy. Some key details about Pope Francis pointed some local Catholics toward particular hopes....

“I think the name ‘Francis’ speaks to his commitment to a simple lifestyle and the things that Francis stood for,” said the Rev. Charles Curran, a professor at Southern Methodist University and a Catholic priest who butted heads with the Vatican on some theology issues....