Jesuit-based Marquette University officials excited for Jesuit pope

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The new pope, Pope Francis, is a Jesuit. On Marquette University's campus, which follows the Jesuit traditions, some find that a reason to be proud.

Marquette University was on Spring Break on Wednesday, March 13th when Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires was selected as pope.

However, there were still excited folks on campus who were encouraged to see a Jesuit pope.

"It's a very interesting, very interesting day," Marquette Professor William Thorne said.

Professor Thorne says the conclave's election of a Latin-American pope shows how important the Latin American population is to the Catholic Church, and how important Pope Francis' work as an evangelist is.

"It's more important we reach out to Latin America and 40% of our Catholics are there. It's more important we have a pope who can speak from the Latin American experience but still knows Rome very well," Professor Thorne said.

The face there is now a Jesuit pope is creating interest at Marquette's campus, since the university is Jesuit-based.

"I don't think he's going to have an easier time dealing with the Jesuits or any other community then any other pope has had because when you become pope you sort of sever that close relationship with your religious community. I certainly hope the other Jesuits take great pride in it," Professor Thorne said.

Dr. Thorne says Jesuits are usually considered more liberal, however, in this case, Pope Francis is very much not liberal, but is considered more of a conservative.

Marquette University President Scott Pilarz issued the following statement following the selection of Pope Francis:

"As president of a Catholic, Jesuit institution, it was a historic moment to hear the conclave’s choice of Cardinal Bergoglio of Argentina, the first-ever Jesuit pope and the first pope from the Western Hemisphere. The pope is the face of Catholicism and a servant of God for the entire world. I’m confident Pope Francis – who has made it his life’s ministry to connect with the poor and the suffering – will represent the perspectives of a truly global faith community in a world that is more interconnected and diverse than ever before. 

This is a moment of great faith for Catholics worldwide. It can serve as a spark to ignite a renewed sense of energy and passion into the Catholic Church, and especially young people, who will be the future of the Church. It is a renewal of the commitment we have made to lead our lives for the greater glory of God and the wellbeing of the world. 

The day-to-day work of the Catholic faithful continues as it has for thousands of years. The work Marquette University does to educate the next generation of leaders as one of the largest Catholic universities in the United States is renewed and reinvigorated."