Pope Francis I has a “good chance of appealing to younger generations of Catholics,” according to one expert.
Francis, formerly Jorge Bergoglio, succeeds Pope Benedict XVI, who last month became the first pope to resign in more than 600 years. The Argentinean Francis is the first non-European pope in more than 1,3000 years and the first pope from the Americas.
“I’m excited that he chose the name Francis. Most Americans know St. Francis as a lover of peace, a lover of animals, and someone with great concern and care for the poor,” Jana Bennett, an associate professor of religious studies at the University of Dayton, said in a statement. “But I think most importantly, St. Francis also did radical things in his call to follow Jesus.
“For a man of 76, he has a pretty good chance of appealing to younger generations of Catholics,” Bennett added. “He has lived his faith authentically in choosing not to live surrounded by expensive guards and cooks. I don’t know how his presence will change the Vatican, but I think this is a change many of us ‘X’-ers and Millennials are looking for.”