MAMARONECK, N.Y. -- People in Mamaroneck reacted to the news that a new pope, Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, was elected Wednesday afternoon as the leader of the world's Roman Catholics.
Pope Francis, 76, is the 266th pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church. He is the first South American pope and the first non-European leader of the church in more than 1,000 years.
"There could have been a pope from Europe, and it's nice to have a pope who might be able to offer creative new views from a different area," said Benjamin Kent. "South America is not the First World, so maybe he'll be able to provide insight that represents his people and makes that part of the world heard."
A group of women chatted about the news of the new pope over coffee.
"I was hoping for someone younger who might be more likely to make reforms," Jeanne Roberts said. "He's still not going to favor women in the church; he's not going to support gays and lesbians. It would be good to have someone more open-minded."
Her friend Paula Shaw agreed that someone younger should have been selected. "The problem with this past one is that he was elected very old and couldn't do it."
Shaw teaches kindergarten at a Jewish school and told her students about the new religious leader for people of a different faith.
"They wanted to know why we don't have a chief rabbi of the Jews in America," she said. "They're 6, so it doesn't really matter to them. But I explained to them his uniform and his little skull cap. But it's a world event, so it was important to talk about."
A fresh perspective from South America could lead to change in the Catholic church, John Anderson said. "Maybe, you never know," he said. "It's different. It's exciting."