Catholic Students React To News Of New Pope

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WILKES-BARRE -- The naming of a new pope has a big impact here in our area.  There are more Catholics than any other religion in northeastern Pennsylvania, hundreds of thousands of them.

That includes several Catholic colleges and universities. Some students admitted they weren't too tuned into the papal election but the ones who were told us they're excited and surprised a new pope was elected so quickly.

As the white smoke billowed out of the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican, most students on the King's College campus were busy in class. But on the campus of a Catholic college, news about the new pope is big.

Senior Kathryn Avila says she's excited to learn that Pope Francis is from Argentina.

"I think it's exciting that we're all getting someone from this side of the world. I mean I don't know too much about the pope's history but we've had the pope from Europe forever now so it's good to know that we have someone from the Americas."

Most students we spoke with say they were happy to have a new pope    and were surprised by how quickly Pope Francis was elected.

King's junior Angela Lopez says having a pope from the Americas wasn't an important factor.

"No real opinion. I don't really care where the pope comes from as long as he leads the church well."

For some, a good leader means a more conservative pope

"I'm more on the conservative side so I'd like to see still, like, conservative," said senior Danielle Scartelli.

Others hope for a more liberal pope

"Less conservative to be honest because times are changing nowadays and I think that the pope should kind of adjust to that nowadays because things are a lot different now, so I think a less conservative view would be a lot better," said King's senior Carissa Cook.

Many of these students told Newswatch 16 they were too young to remember the election of Pope Benedict.

They say it's pretty amazing to watch history unfold this time around.

"My family's pretty big Catholics, so to actually finally understand what was going on, just all the circumstances that went into it was just so interesting. Like, the fact that Pope Benedict resigned and I think that also contributed to why they chose the pope so quickly," said Avila.