GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Coast attorney Mariano Barvie was born in Buenos Aires. He said for some time he's noticed a disconnect in the Catholic church between the old guard at the Vatican and much of the rest of the world. He is hopeful Pope Francis will change all that.
Barvie's law office is decorated with trinkets from the beloved Argentina he called home until he was 11. Back then, the country was under a military dictatorship and Barvie said being a clergyman was dangerous.
"One of the priests at my school, an elementary school, was murdered at the church," Barvie said. "I remember having to go to school and we would have soldiers, armed at the door of the school when we would walk in. So it was definitely took a lot of courage to be a priest in the 70s in Argentina. The new pope, as I understand it, was ordained in 1969."
In researching Pope Francis, Barvie was surprised to learn despite his high rank in the church, the fellow Argentinean uses public transportation and cooks his own meals.
"I am really impressed and really excited about how humble and simple he is," Barvie said. "When he first came out, he could have been dressed in all the fancy dressings and the crosses that the previous popes have had. But he chose to come out only wearing white and a wooden cross. I think that was his way of signifying to all of us he is going to be a pope of the people."
Barvie expects the new pope to be a champion of the people and is hopeful for a new enthusiasm with the Catholic church.
"I think part of the problem that folks have had with the Church lately is how it was, in the Vatican at least, that things were too formal and people were excluded from the church. I think with this new election of an American pope, not only a Latin American pope, but American pope that it will bring everybody together."
"He is a very simple and humble man, but at the same time I think he is a very courageous and strong opinionated man. He is not going to back down just because folks may not agree with his opinion. I think that comes from his Jesuit background. I think he'll bring to the forefront issues that perhaps before members of the church hierarchy did not want to bring up."
Barvie said people in Argentina tend to relate most everything to soccer. So news outlets there are already predicting the country will win the next World Cup because the country will have Pope Francis rooting for their team.