Australian Catholic leaders, including bishops, women religious and advocates, have welcomed the election of Pope Francis overnight, in terms of his spirituality and social justice advocacy.
The Archbishop of Adelaide, Philip Wilson, said: “He is renowned for being a voice for the voiceless, a man of prayer and a humble servant of the Lord.
“I am sure he will provide great leadership in these challenging times for both the Church and our world.
Bishop Anthony Fisher, the Bishop of Parramatta, said: “He is a deeply spiritual man who is highly respected as a theologian and an intellectual. He is a humble man and a great defender of the poor. In his first words as Pope, Pope Francis spoke of building fraternity, love and trust.”
The Bishop of Wollongong, Peter Ingham, said: “Although a somewhat unexpected candidate, I am thrilled with the decision and I think it shows that the Cardinals really have listened to the Holy Spirit.
Australian Jesuit Provincial, Fr Steve Curtin, said: Pope Francis has a very strong background as an advocate for human dignity and social justice, and his advocacy has been matched by a notable simplicity of life style.
Caritas CEO Jack de Groot said Cardinal Bergoglio is a robust defender of the poor and the first Pontiff to be elected from the Southern Hemisphere.
“His is a man of passion, simplicity, coupled with a strong heart for the poor,” said Mr de Groot.“He is also a strong advocate globally for social justice and the upholding of human dignity.”
President of Catholic Religious Australia, Sister Annette Cunliffe rsc, welcomes the appointment of Pope Francis, formerly Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio SJ -a Jesuit who has taken on a the name Francis for his papacy.
“I think Australian religious would be seeing signs of hope - the first Pope from the Southern Hemisphere, a religious (Jesuit) who chose a name no Pope before him has taken: Francis which may refer to Francis of Assisi as he has shown great solidarity with the poor," said Sr Annette.
"However the name could also refer to the great Jesuit St. Francis Xavier who is patron of Australia and was missionary in every way.”
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Archbishop Philip Wilson
Bishop Peter Ingham
Bishop Anthony Fisher
Catholic Religious Australia