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Catholic leaders hope for justice, reform

In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Francis puts flowers on the altar inside St. Mary Major Basilica, in Rome, Thursday, March 14, 2013. Pope Francis opened his first morning as pontiff by praying Thursday at Rome's main basilica dedicated to the Virgin Mary, a day after cardinals elected him the first pope from the Americas in a bid to revive a Catholic Church in crisis and give it a preacher with a humble touch. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano)
In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Francis puts flowers on the altar inside St. Mary Major Basilica, in Rome, Thursday, March 14, 2013. Pope Francis opened his first morning as pontiff by praying Thursday at Rome's main basilica dedicated to the Virgin Mary, a day after cardinals elected him the first pope from the Americas in a bid to revive a Catholic Church in crisis and give it a preacher with a humble touch. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano)
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Area Catholics were surprised by the election of the first pope from the Americas but hoped he would bring a new spirit to heal divisions in the church and excite the faithful. The cardinals on Wednesday elected 76-year-old Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, as pope. Bishop Howard Hubbard of Albany said it is significant that Bergoglio is the first non-European pontiff in centuries and took the name Francis. “Francis of ...


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