New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond says Pope Francis is a first in many ways.
“He’s a Jesuit. The first time in the history of the church we’ve had a Jesuit pope. The first in the history of the church that we’ve had a pope from South America, and the first time in the history of the church we have a pope who chooses the name Francis,” Aymond said from his office, less than an hour after the new pope’s identity was revealed.
Aymond believes the new pope chose Francis as his name after St Francis of Assisi.
“Francis tells the story of God calling him to rebuild the church. And I think Pope Francis will see this as a time for renewal, a time for rebuilding,” Aymond said. “I think he will call us, in a new way, to a great love for one another, charity, and I think for a great love for the poor.”
Aymond expects the new pope to focus more on operations within the Vatican before he takes any big stances or addresses any issues outside the church or internationally.
He also says the former pope’s retirement, rather than serving until his death, will probably set an example that will be continued into the future.
Pope Francis is the first pope from outside Europe, the first Jesuit, and the first to take the name Francis.
But Aymond says don’t expect another first, at least, any time soon.
“I don’t think there will be a pope from the United States in my lifetime. But I certainly would not rule out the fact that someday in the history of the church there could be a pope from our country.”