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Local Pastor Weighs In On Selection Of New Pope

A Kewaunee County pastor says one of the challenges for the new pope will be stemming the tide of Latin American Catholics leaving the religion.

Fr. Bill Swichtenberg of St. Mary Parish in Algoma says about 40 percent of the world's Catholics live in Latin America and Central America, and he estimates about 10 percent of them have left the faith over the past 10 years.

Another priority for Pope Francis according to Fr. Swichtenberg, will be getting familiar with the inner workings of the Roman Curia.

Fr. Swichtenberg says Pope Francis was a very traditional, orthodox archbishop so he doesn't anticipate any radical changes in the church's teachings. But he says the new pope's style will definitely be different than his predecessor.

The 76-year-old pontiff from Argentina is the first non-European leader of the church in more than 1,000 years and the first one ever chosen from South America.


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