Saturday, 23 March 2013

Pope Francis reactions/3

Today I want to complete my series on the reactions by our bishops to the election of Pope Francis.

Respect for the Pope

Before I get to reactions from the NSW bishops, I thought I'd alert you to this nice treatment of the criticisms being made of Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis by progressives, secularists and traditionalists alike by Michael Voris (thanks to Fr Z for highlighting it).

I for one have been bombarded by requests that I 'defend' Pope Benedict in ways that implicitly or explicitly criticise Pope Francis.

Pope Benedict's white martyrdom, I think, started with the comments of some of the Cardinals.  He needs no defenders though, ultimately time will tell!

And yes, I'd prefer it if Pope Francis had reclaimed the tiara.  Yes, I'd prefer he wears red shoes and mozzetta. Yes, I'd prefer he says the Maundy Thursday Mass in one of Rome's great Cathedrals. And yes, I'd like him to actually use the word 'Pope' to describe himself occasionally.

These things, though small are symbolic and it is not just pharaseeism, I think, to regret their absence.

Nonetheless, they are all but small things, and honestly, there are bigger things than these to worry about!  So let's give the man some time to settle into the role, save our firepower for the big things that really matter, and pray instead.

As Mr Voris points out, attacking the Pope at this point is a pastime we should leave to the secularists and the Cardinal Mahony's of this world, who are certainly going there best to hurt the Church any way they can.

And in the meantime, let me finish off my round-up of what our bishops' initial reactions to the election were.

It is notable that, in contrast to the patchy West, Centre and Queensland, all of the NSW bishops (just as for Victoria) put out a statement on the election, and many subsequently offered Masses in thanksgiving.


The Sydney Archdiocese website continues to provide extensive coverage of the election and early acts of Pope Francis.

Cardinal Pell was, of course, one of the Cardinal-electors, yet the embrace of radical poverty advocated by our new Pope must surely be a challenging one for the resident of a permanently reserved apartment Domus Australia!

Nonetheless, as is his wont, has given a number of interviews on the outcome, including to types such as shock jock Alan Jones (why does he lend succour to such as these, who continue to undermine the case for free speech?!) .  You can find links and writeups of them here.

The Cardinal's official media statement was as follows:

"Cardinal Pell has warmly welcomed and is delighted with the new Holy Father, Pope Francis.

Cardinal Pell said: "The Catholic Church has her first non-European pope since the eighth century.

"Pope Francis is also the first pope from South America and the first pope to take the name St Francis of Assisi, an important and symbolic decision.

"He is also the first pope to be elected from the Jesuit order, which was founded by Ignatius of Loyola and which was the major force in the Counter Reformation and in restoring the faith across Europe.

"These are all happy omens which were reflected in the enthusiasm of the immense crowd of people in St Peter's Square for the announcement of the news.

"The church has a new father, a new successor of Peter.

"He is a man of wide pastoral experience who has lived through very difficult times in Argentina during periods of military rule and financial turmoil."

The Cardinal said he was excited and looks forward to the future with confidence as we have a pope of acknowledged piety and proven orthodoxy who has shown an ability to take decisions, and hard decisions.

"He will support national hierarchies in the struggle against sexual abuse, giving priority to victims and one of his first tasks will be to examine the three hundred-page report on the workings of the Vatican by the three cardinals.

"God has blessed the church and I am sure that all Australian Catholics will continue in their loyalty to the papacy and to the new pope."


The diocesan website carries news items and background on the new Pope, together with a statement from the bishop:

"Bishop Michael Kennedy, together with Catholics of the Armidale Diocese and around the world, celebrates with great joy the election of Pope Francis.

The speedy election of Pope Francis is a sign of unity within the College of Cardinals and the whole Church. This election was guided by the Holy Spirit and, with the first Pope from South America, it is a sign of the growing and young face of the Church as it reaches out to people of all the world.
Pope Francis has a sound theological experience and a compassionate heart. He has demonstrated a deep concern for people.

In keeping with the request of the Holy Father to “pray for me” Bishop Kennedy has this morning offered Mass for Pope Francis and asks for Catholics and people of good will to heed Pope Francis’ request and continue to keep him in their prayers."


Articles on the election process and Pope Francis.  The website also notes that:

Bishop Michael McKenna has given thanks for the election of Pope Francis, announced on 14th March 2013.

“We thank God for our new Pope, Francis. We ask God’s blessing and guidance on him as he begins this unique and vital service for the Church” Bishop McKenna said.

Before giving his blessing to the crowd in St. Peter’s Square and all connected with that event through radio, TV and internet, Pope Francis knelt and asked the people to pray for him. Bishop McKenna said by doing so “He reminds us that the mission of the Church is entrusted to all of us, each in his or her own way”.

In choosing the name Francis, the new Pope calls on the example and intercession of one of our greatest saints. Bishop McKenna remarked “St. Francis is popularly known for rejoicing in God’s creation and knowing he was part of it. He is also famous for his simplicity of life and solidarity with the poor. Both of these qualities come out of the fact that St. Francis took seriously the promises of Christ and lived joyfully and hopefully according to them”.

“We pray not only that Pope Francis will be blessed with such graces, but that the whole Church will be”.

Broken Bay

The  website provides news and updates.  Bishop David Walker commented:

"What an exciting outcome of the Conclave! A new pope, from a new continent, with a new name. The new Pope's personal history offers an insight into how he will lead. His background in South America indicates the sort of issues that will be important to him. The name he has chosen points to a holiness and simplicity that will characterise his leadership. It is a moment of great hope for the Church."


The diocesan website provides news and updates on the election and after.  Bishop Jarrett's statement said:

"It's often said that the unchanging God is also a God of surprises. Somehow the Church which appears on the one hand to be so predictable can also give us a great surprise. Cardinal Bergoglio certainly was not the most talked about papal candidate but now he will be known for ever as Pope Francis.

The choice of the name is both beautiful and significant. Francis of Assisi is a character universally loved and admired. He is also a model for the rebuilding and renewal of the Church, as Pope Innocent III saw in the thirteenth century: "Go, Francis, and rebuild my Church which as you can see is falling down." A later Francis was also one of the Church's greatest missionaries and a model for the Church's more energetic promotion of Jesus Christ, and His gospel of truth and conversion in the modern world.

This will be a papacy of great promise and expectation. All Catholics and people of good will will pray for the 266th Pope. He holds an office in today's fast changing world unparalleled in both longevity and influence."


'Bishop Bill' welcomes new Pope:

"...Bishop Bill Wright, the pastoral leader of the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle, has welcomed the announcement. He released a statement earlier in the day calling on members of the diocese to pray for Pope Francis, "pray that he is given the wisdom and strength to lead and guide our church wisely".

"In the coming days I look forward to knowing more about Pope Francis, and why God has chosen him for this ministry in the church at this present time", said Bishop Bill.

I ask Catholics of the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle to pray for Pope Francis; pray that he is given the wisdom and strength to lead and guide our church wisely.

Despite all the speculation about who might become the next Pope, the outcome of the conclave has once again been a surprise.

We put our trust in the work of the Holy Spirit and pray that Pope Francis will lead us well, bring us closer to God and be a great witness to Christ in the world of today."


Parramatta diocese has by far the best news service of any Australian diocese, allowing you to sign up to receive email updates typically occurring several times a day with news of local and international happenings.

Bishop Fisher OP:

"...welcomed the news of the election of Pope Francis as Bishop of Rome and Universal Pastor of the Catholic Church.

Habemus papam - we have a Pope! The Catholic Diocese of Parramatta cheers with the rest of humanity at the happy news,” Bishop Anthony said on Thursday 14 March.

Pope Francis, formerly Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio SJ, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, is the first Jesuit Pope. He is also the first Pope to come from Latin America.

“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,” Bishop Anthony said.

“In July this year, I will lead a group of 250 young people from the Diocese of Parramatta to Rio de Janeiro where we will meet Pope Francis at World Youth Day. More than two million people were already expected to participate and, with a new Pope from Latin America, I am sure many millions more will be coming.

Please offer your prayers for Pope Francis, today, in the days ahead and throughout his pontificate.”

Wagga Wagga

Bishop Hanna said:

"We welcome the news that broke at 6.00am this morning naming Pope Francis. As you will know from media releases and extensive coverage, he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires and Argentina.

My word to you at this moment is above all to support him in prayer.

The biographical details and his experience in governance as well as various positions he has held both nationally and internationally are well-documented.

As a Diocese, we offer our prayerful support in thanksgiving for the election of Pope Francis I and indeed in an intense way to commend him in prayer.


Bishop Ingham's statement on the website is:

"Bishop Peter Ingham today warmly welcomed the election of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio SJ as the new Pope.

Taking the name Francis, the new pontiff was elected on the second day of the Conclave of Cardinals.
Bishop Ingham said he joined with all Catholics in praying for the new Pope as he took on the awesome responsibility of leading the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.

Bishop Ingham said, “I am very excited! The election of a new Pope is always a joyous time for the Church as was witnessed by the massive crowds gathered in St Peter’s Square braving the rain. He looked so calm and humble during what would have been a very daunting moment in his life. I liked how he asked the people to pray for him.

“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. Being from Latin America, the new Pope brings with him the perspective of the Southern Hemisphere to the Northern Hemisphere. He also brings with him a great social conscience. He is a champion of the poor, which is clearly evident in the simple spartan lifestyle that he has lived.

“As a member of the international Jesuit order, which means the Society of Jesus, the new Pope comes from a great legacy of spiritual leadership, prayer, and a strong focus on education and social justice – being a voice for the voiceless. As Archbishop Denis Hart said, he focuses us on following Jesus closely.

“The name he has chosen is also a very important sign to us. St Francis Xavier (from whom our Wollongong Cathedral takes its name), was a great Jesuit missionary. Another great Saint in our Church is Saint Francis of Assisi; a man of poverty, humility and simplicity who gave up everything in the world to respond to Christ’s call to rebuild his Church. The Church’s nature is missionary and is always in need of reform and rebuilding.

“I see this as an opportunity for the Church to start afresh and renew its allegiance to our Lord Jesus Christ through our pledge of allegiance to our new Holy Father. Pope Francis cannot be expected to solve every problem. The challenges that face the Church at present, especially in Australia, cannot be understated. 

However, it is my hope that the election of Pope Francis will give us fresh heart and encourage us to persevere in the faith (cf Acts 14:22) and to meet the challenges ahead in a spirit of truth, justice and healing.
“Just as Jesus selected Peter from among the Apostles because of his strong faith, this new Successor of Saint Peter is a gifted man chosen under the influence of the Holy Spirit and affirmed by the Church. We pray for our new Holy Father, Francis, as he begins his journey in the footsteps of St Peter as an Apostle for peace and goodness for the whole world.”

1 comment:

milan said...

Just for the record, he does say the Missa Chrismatis at St Peter's in the morning. And the Lateran Basilica is closed anyway...