Hawaii Catholics expect more progressive Pope - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hawaii Catholics expect more progressive Pope

Audrey Toguchi Audrey Toguchi
Danny O'Regan Danny O'Regan
Rev. George Cerniglia Rev. George Cerniglia
Kaipo  Leopoldino Kaipo Leopoldino
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Pope Benedict is held in high regard in Hawaii.  After all two people from Hawaii became Saints during the eight years of his papacy.

It doesn't happen every day.  In fact a Pope hasn't resigned in 600 years.  So Pope Benedict's announcement that he will step down at the end of the month took Catholics by surprise, especially those who have met him.

"He was so kind and warm," said Audrey Toguchi, Saint Damien's miracle woman, who prayed to Damien's relic and found her terminal cancer had been cured.

Audrey Toguchi was front and center for the Saint Damien canonization in Rome four years ago.  Being a year younger than the Pope she identifies with his perspective on age.

"I tell you this, the mind says go go go, but the body says no no no and so he has the wisdom to understand what he can do and what he is not able to do so I have a great deal of respect for this man," said Toguchi.

"I think the church is going through a little bit of a transition right now so maybe it was difficult with the scandals and things that have gone on in the past," said Danny O'Regan, Chaminade University Director for Campus Ministry.  "I think with the change its and opportunity for the people to say if it's not working maybe it's time to pray together, reflect and have a new leader."

When asked what Catholics would like to see in the next Pope you get a range of answers.

"Some of the issues that the people look at for the church of the future are these issues of homosexuality, gay marriage, abortion, contraception but I think these issues to be honest are very minor in terms of what we should be focusing on in terms of Catholics.  I think Jesus when he gave the message of the Kingdom of God, there is so much more to be talking about and I think the more we focus on these side things, they are important but they are not the most important thing," said O'Regan.

"I'm hoping we can have a balance, somebody who is balanced," said Walter Yoshimitsu, Hawaii Catholic Conference Director, which he says is the public policy voice of the Catholic Church.  "What we can look forward to I hope is something a little bit progressive."

Some believe the church needs to be more inclusive and open to the female perspective.

"We need leadership but it does not have to be reserved to men or clergy," said Rev. George Cerniglia, Office of the Rector, Chaminade University.

And considering the majority of Catholics are outside of Europe there are those who feel it may be time for a non-white man to be Pope.

"I would definitely like to see some form of minority take the office of the pope," said Kaipo Leopoldino, Chaminade University Student.

"I think we need a Pope that reflects the multi cultural aspect of the faith today," said O'Regan.

There are an estimated 220,000 Catholics in Hawaii. Of them 60,000 attend services according to the church.

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