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The future pope opposed gay marriage and abortion rights in the liberal country, the Utah Catholic said, but he also pushed officials to care for the poor and the unemployed.
The Rev. Omar Ontiveros, of Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church in West Valley City, originally from Mexico, underscores Francis’ defense of the poor, but also his openness to all people in need.
In 2001, then Cardinal Bergoglio visited an Argentine hospice, Ontiveros wrote in an email, where he "kissed and washed the feet of 12 patients with AIDS."
The Utah priest is confident, he said, "that God has blessed us with a pope who will confirm us in the faith of Jesus Christ."
On Wednesday, the LDS Church wished the new pope well.
"We extend our warmest wishes to His Holiness Pope Francis I and pray he will feel the peace of the Lord as he serves as pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church," the LDS Church governing First Presidency said in a statement.
"We have been honored and pleased as our two faiths have worked together on issues of faith, morality and service to the poor and needy," the statement said. "We value the relationships that have been formed in these joint efforts and are grateful for the good that has been accomplished."
Even though Talia Macheski, a Utahn from Argentina, is Jewish, she still celebrates the new pope.
"For me, it’s a proud moment," Macheski said, "I hope he can help people in every community of the world."
Tribune reporter Michael McFall contributed to this story.
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