Seattle -- Many Catholics hoped the cardinals would pick a new pope who would champion same-sex marriage and other social issues. Now, some feel Pope Francis just isn't that person.
In his past, Pope Francis clashed with Argentina's president, asking parishioners to join a campaign that he called "God's War" against gay marriage.
That was enough to catch the attention of Dignity USA, a national organization that envisions a day when gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, and transgender Catholics will all be welcome inside the church.
"I think a lot of gay Catholics have given up on the church, and rightfully so," said Leo Egashira, who lives in Seattle and serves on the National Board of Directors for Dignity USA. "Frankly, because all the cardinals that voted today were selected by John Paul II and Benedict XVI, who are both very conservative, it's hard to expect a lot of change, even though I'm hoping for it."
So are people like Mary Dispenza of Bellevue, who was once a devout Catholic.
"I grew up Catholic, I went to Catholic elementary school, Catholic high school, I entered the convent when I was 18 and stayed until I was 33 years old," she said.
That all changed 20 years ago, when Dispenza says she followed her heart.
"In 1993, I came out as a woman who was a lesbian in the Catholic Church," she said.
At the time, she was working as the Director of the Pastoral Life Services Department, a job she'd been appointed to by the archbishops of Seattle.
She was fired from her job and forced to leave the church almost immediately.
"If you're living your life out as a gay person, there's no room for you in the leadership of the Catholic church," she said.
Dispenza's bad experiences with the church don't end there. She's the regional director of SNAP - Survivors Network of Those Abused By Priests - because she was sexually abused as a child in the Catholic Church.
She says that's yet another reason why reform in the church is desperately needed.
That's why Dispenza has closely followed Wednesday's news of a new era in Vatican City. She says she'd love to see Pope Francis make the changes she's long prayed for, but at the same time, she's not holding her breath.
"I don't think the Catholic Church will change its stance on women as priests, contraceptives, and I don't think they'll change their position on gays."
Dignity USA Executive Director Marianne Duddy-Burke has made the following statement on the election of Pope Francis:
“We join our fellow Catholics in praying for the ministry and leadership of Pope Francis. We applaud the cardinals for their recognition of the rising energy of the Catholic Church in the global South and the new possibilities and perspectives that may come from that region.
Dignity USA executive director Marianne Duddy-Burke released this statement on the election of Pope Francis:
"We are encouraged by Pope Francis’ clear commitment to the poor, and to the social justice tradition at the heart of our faith. At the same time, we acknowledge that as archbishop and cardinal the man who is now Pope Francis has made some very harsh and inflammatory statements about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. We recognize that sometimes this new job on which he embarks can change the man called to it. We call on our new Pope to recognize that he is now head of a Church that includes a huge number of LGBT people, their families and friends around the world. We invite him to take the time to learn about our lives, our faith, and our families before he makes any papal pronouncements about us, and we stand ready to enter into dialogue with him at any time.”