Great hopes for new Pope

Written By miftah nugraha on Jumat, 15 Maret 2013 | 19.55

TASMANIAN Catholics have weoclomed the quick election of a Pope and found his choice of the name Francis inspiring.

They hope Pope Francis can draw strength from the example of St Francis of Assisi, who lived a life of Christ-like poverty and simplicity.

After daily Mass at St Joseph's Church in Hobart yesterday, Catholics spoke of their joy and surprise at the election of not a Vatican insider but a man from the margins, who lived far from Rome and who, as a cardinal, has championed the poor and forgotten in Latin America.

Archbishop Adrian Doyle said the Pope's election was generating a lot of excitement.

"It came somewhat unexpectedly, a little earlier than we anticipated," he said.

Archbishop Doyle had never met the Argentinian cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio -- the 76-year-old who yesterday became Pope Francis I -- but said he could relate to him in a number of ways.

To learn more about the new pontiff, click here

"He's a month younger than I am and he's starting a new life when I'm on the verge of retirement," he said.

The Archbishop, an Italian speaker, also noted the new Pope's Italian background and the fact that Buenos Aires and Hobart were about as far away from Rome as possible.

"Coming from the world of South America, which has a huge presence in the Church, I think is most significant," he said. "Being a member of the Jesuit order is a first. The Jesuit order has been a wonderful contributor to the church over many centuries.

"I think the most important and significant thing is the name he has taken.

"There could be two meanings to that. One is St Francis of Assisi, the great saint who lived a life of poverty and simplicity.

"The other Francis is St Francis Xavier, who was a Spaniard companion of the founder of the Jesuits, St Ignatius, who spread the Gospel in Asia in the 16th century.

"I think what the last few days have shown is that the church, with all its faults and weaknesses, is still a most significant presence in the world and the role of Pope is still a most significant role.

"The Pope exercises enormous influence in the world scene.

"The Pope is our leader, our principal shepherd, our teacher and our guide and all the directions he gives will be transmitted down the line.

"Each Pope brings their own special gifts and talents. Pope Benedict was a teacher.

"This new Pope may be able to address some of the issues around the structure of the church and the way the church operates and bring a greater simplicity to that.

"The message that is coming across about his own lifestyle, living a very simple lifestyle, I think that will be a very powerful message if he is able to show that in the new circumstances."

Archbishop Doyle said Pope Francis faced a huge challenge in heading such a large organisation.


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