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Fr. Murphy says Francis was a strategic choice

7:56 PM, Mar 14, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Reaction is starting to pour in on the First Coast following the announcement of the Catholic Church's new leader.

Father Ed Murphy is the lead pastor at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in downtown Jacksonville.

On Wednesday afternoon, First Coast News was with Murphy as he learned who the new Pope was on live television,

At times, Murphy sat on the edge of his recliner. His eyes rarely left the television set.

"This is an incredible moment," he said.

Murphy said the Cardinals' decision to select Jorge Bergoglio of South America, who now goes by Pope Francis, is a surprise, but also reassuring.

He said he believes the Pope chose the name Francis to be viewed as a reformer of the church.

Murphy said he had two theories going into the conclave in Rome. One, he thought the Cardinals might pick someone who is viewed as an 'insider.'

But it is Murphy said it is his second theory that actually came true. He said Pope Francis is an 'outsider' who can better relate to the poor and changing demographics of the faith and world.

"The reason for picking this Pope, this particular Pope, I believe, is to make a statement to the idea of the universality of the church," Murphy said.

Murphy also alluded to possible changes facing the new Pope.

He said Pope Francis will likely have to address violence in the Middle East, as well as reported abuse within the Catholic church.

"It's possible this particular Pope is taking that name as a way to say 'I'm here to reform the church, reform perhaps whatever abuses, could be clerical abuses, some of the issues that have come up with the Vatileak," he said.

The Vatican has said Pope Francis, while younger than Pope Benedict XVI, will travel less than his predecessor.

Pope Francis' first day will include his first official mass as Pope.

First Coast News

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