Monday, March 18, 2013



The ecumenical National Council of Churches in Australia has welcomed the appointment of the new pope.
General secretary the Rev Tara Curlewis said in an age when churches are seeking justice and peace for all, “Pope Francis I with his experience and commitment to the poor and his constant call for the eradication of poverty offers the Catholic Church leadership that will be warmly welcomed by the millions of Catholic faithful particularly those in developing nations.
“Australia has always warmly welcomed papal visits and each pope has been remembered for their particular engagement with the Australian people. We look forward to the day when Pope Francis I will visit this land, until then we assure the new pontiff of our prayers.”
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has offered his warmest welcome to the new pope.
“We wish Pope Francis every blessing in the enormous responsibilities that he has assumed on behalf of Roman Catholics around the world,” he said.
“His election is also of great significance to Christians everywhere, not least among Anglicans. We have long since recognised – and often reaffirmed – that our churches hold a special place for one another.
“I look forward to meeting Pope Francis, and to walking and working together to build on the consistent legacy of our predecessors.  May the love of Christ unite us, and intensify our service in a genuine and fruitful ecumenism that can be a blessing for the Body of Christ throughout the world.
“Pope Francis is well known as a compassionate pastor of real stature who has served the poor in Latin America, and whose simplicity and holiness of life is remarkable. He is an evangelist, sharing the love of Christ which he himself knows.
“His choice of the name Francis suggests that he wants to call us all back to the transformation that St Francis knew and brought to the whole of Europe, fired by contemplation and closeness to God.”
In the UK, The Guardian newspaper said the choice of Cardinal Bergoglio “is an extraordinary leap away from the conservative and cautious nature of the last two papacies. Although Bergoglio is described as a moderate conservative, the Jesuits have a reputation in the modern church for rigorous and independent thought, and under Pope John Paul II they were in deep disfavour for their sympathy with liberation theology in Latin America.
“The election of a Latin American Jesuit would also have been unthinkable 30 years ago.”

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