Friday, 22 March 2013

True power is service...Pope Francis reactions/2

I'm back online at last folks, but it will take me a little while to catch up on things, and I'm travelling interstate next week, so blogging will continue to be a bit scarce.

I thought I should, however, complete the series I started on the reactions of the Australian bishops to the election of Pope Francis (thanks to the reader who provided input for this).

Pope Francis in Holy Week

Pope Francis is certainly continuing to strike a unique path, emphasizing the Churches mission to those at the margins.

He has tweeted that 'True power is service. The Pope must serve all people, especially the poor, the weak, the vulnerable.  And he has backed that message up with the announcement being that his Maundy Thursday Mass of the Last Supper will be held in a juvenile detention facility. Let's hope that they are treated to a splendidly beautiful liturgy, for surely those at the margins deserve to experience the best possible offering to God!

We look to be in for interesting times, so all the more need for diocesan websites that actually aim to keep its people up-to-date on what is happening in the wider Catholic world.  Indeed, I suspect diocesan coverage of the papal election is a pretty good indicator of its commitment to leadership and engagement with the laity.  And in the case of the election of a Pope, a pretty good test of a sense of unity as well!

It is surprising then, just how many dioceses have either completely ignored, or made only token gestures to recognise the change in leadership of our Church.

Accordingly, here is part II of my series on our bishops reactions, covering the rest of Australia except NSW.


Meanwhile back in Australia, here is what our bishops up north had to say about his election.

Brisbane: Articles and updates on the website.  Archbishop Coleridge released a statement saying:

"Like many others in the Church and beyond I was seriously surprised at the election of Pope Francis: he is the first Latin American Pope; he is the first Jesuit Pope; he is the first Pope ever to take the name Francis, and I had thought that he was perhaps too old.[!]

However, I find myself now seriously pleased with the choice the Cardinals have made. I think it is a piece of lateral thinking that is very welcome and brings a freshness to the Papacy that is also very welcome.

To see the new Pope appear on the balcony of St Peter’s in the simple white soutane and to speak as simply to the people as he did evoked the memory of Pope John XXIII. Then that he invited the crowd into a moment of silence to pray with him before he blessed them, again was very striking.

So here is a Pope renowned for his simplicity of life. We saw signs of that as he appeared on the balcony and we can only hope that that simplicity, the simplicity of the Gospel and of Jesus Christ himself, will typify the pontificate.

As we rejoice in the election of Pope Francis, we also pray that his health will hold up so that he might fulfil the mission that has been entrusted to him not just by the Cardinals but by the Lord Jesus himself.

Cairns: Nothing on website

Rockhampton: No news section on the website but a statement from Bishop Heenan:

"I am delighted with  the election of Pope Francis I, whose vision of the ministry of the Gospel seems to me to  be so refreshing.  His concern for and outreach to the  poor, reflected in the  title he  has chosen, indicates a welcomed gift  he will  bring  to  his Pontificate.

As time  unfolds  we will  all come to know  more  about  our new  Pope Francis I, but  in the meantime we must  earnestly  pray for God's  gift  of courage  and strength for him as he leads the Church.

He will  preside  over  our  Church  which  has many  wonderful strengths and  ways  of responding  to   the   message  of   the   Gospel,   as  well   as  other   weaknesses   and challenges  which  will  require much  wisdom and a resolute determination to address the issues that  weigh heavily  on the Church at this time.

I simply  say again, I believe  we  have  been  very  blessed  by  the  election of  Pope Francis I, and as we pray for the Holy Father  during his time  of settling in to the  role, we look forward to a Pontificate of new horizons."
Toowoomba: No news updates, but does offers a prayer for the new pope.

Townsville: Continuing updates on events and a video of the bishop on WIN News.  On the election, Bishop Putney commented:

“I am very excited by the choice of Bishop of Buenos Aires.” He is much loved for his simple life-style. He catches the bus to work each day with everyone else.

I guess the simple, poor Francis of Assisi is his model and hence his choice of name” he said. “I am also glad that he is from Latin America. Most Catholics live in Africa, Asia or Latin America but our focus seem always to be on affluent Western countries. For many from the rest of the world their daily issue is simple survival from poverty, war and terror. He will turn our gaze toward them.”


Melbourne: News and updates and updates, plus a statement by Archbishop Hart:

"AS Archbishop of Melbourne and President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, I joyfully welcome the glad news of the appointment of Pope Francis.  For two weeks the Catholics of the world have been without the spiritual father of their family.  We have been looking forward to this special moment when our new Holy Father, chief teacher and shepherd would be announced.

The announcement brings great joy and hope and readiness to walk with him on the way to Jesus Christ.

Pope Francis, formerly Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio SJ born in Buenos Aires in 1936, ordained a Jesuit priest in 1969 and subsequently was novice master, teacher of literature and psychology, has been Archbishop of Buenos Aires since 1998 and a Cardinal since 2001.  He was Jesuit Provincial in Argentina from 1973 to 1979.  He is known for commitment to doctrine and social justice, and is a humble man of simple lifestyle.  His appointment is a sign to the Catholics of Latin America and the whole world of the invitation given to all to follow Jesus closely.  He has served as member of a number of offices in the Holy See”

In this time of rejoicing we thank God who has given us a leader and teacher to bring us to God, to care for us and unite us in the service of God and others. We offer our new Holy Father our prayers, obedience and love as he prepares to begin his ministry for us.  On behalf of all Australian Catholics I will immediately write to the Holy Father with our pledge of loyalty, prayer and support." 

Ballarat: For non-diocesan news, the diocesan website provides links to Cath News, the Vatican Information Service and the Catholic News Service.

In addition, the website has a reaction from Bishop Paul Bird, saying:

"After the short time without a pope it is a good thing to have the role filled and a new leader for the Catholic Church, Bishop Paul said.  He said he was rather surprised that the decision was made so quickly as all reports predicted it would be a long process when, in actual fact it, has been around the same length as last conclave.

Bishop Paul hasn’t yet met Pope Francis and said the closest he has been was to have a stop over at Buenos Aires.  It is something quite new to have a Pope from South America and it touches upon the international role the Pope has.  The Bishop said Pope Francis appeared very warm and gentle in his initial contact with people and that it was quite touching when he asked the crowd to pray for him in silence before he gave his blessing. He bowed while the people prayed in silence for him and after that gave his blessing.   Bishop Paul said it reflected the different roles of people in the church, the people in the square as well as the Pope.  The Pope has a special role and each one of us has our role where we are.

The Bishop also commented that this is the first Pope from the Jesuit order.  In Australia, Jesuits are best known for their work in education and the number of schools and colleges they administer.  Around the world, for many centuries, they have been a missionary order.   St Ignatius was their founder who saw the Jesuits as an order that would be willing to serve anywhere, quite particularly at the service of the pope, to go where the pope saw a special need.  The connection to the Jesuits might remind us of the missionary spirit which is a part of a pope’s role:  to encourage not only the faithful to believe in Christ but to spread the gospel of Christ to all those who haven’t heard."

Sale: Bishop Prowse has an article, and the diocesan newspaper has a lead article on the election of Pope Francis.  Unfortunately the bishop's statement is not in a format that can be readily copied into another document.  That's a shame as it provides a nice recognition of Pope Benedict XVI's legacy, as well as some commentary on what is to come.

Sandhurst: News articles and this statement by Bishop Tomlinson:

"Bishop of Sandhurst Leslie Tomlinson has welcomed with joy the election of Pope Francis in Rome this morning.

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, Pope Francis, is the first Latin American and Jesuit Pontiff.
“A man who has a strong reputation of priority for social justice; a man of simple life; and, as we expect, of deep holiness, has been appointed to lead our Church,” Bishop Tomlinson said.

“Much media attention has been focussed on the challenges facing the new pope. Such an enormous job, of course, brings many challenges. But what is also evident is the worldwide interest and support for our Holy Father. We can see this in the prayers that have been offered in preparation for the conclave, and, I believe, we can see it in the result that is now presented to us in the election of Pope Francis.

“I think we can look forward with great expectation for the way in which God will extend His care for His people and His world through the Petrine ministry of Pope Francis.

“The joy that is so evident in people at this election is a true indication of the joy that comes through this answer to our prayers – the prayers of the whole Church and many people of good will – that we have a worthy successor, and we have that in Pope Francis....


Archbishop Adrian Doyle of Hobart said:

I welcome enthusiastically the announcement early this morning of the election of a new Pope. The events of the past month, following the unanticipated announcement of Pope Benedict that he intended to retire, have served to emphasise very clearly the importance of the role of the Pope, certainly within the Church, but across the whole world.

After an unexpectedly short conclave, the Cardinals have chosen the Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina to be the successor of Pope Benedict.

The choice of Francis as the name of the new Pope is, I believe, most significant. St Francis of Assisi was a truly remarkable person, committed to poverty and peace. St Francis Xavier was a missionary who travelled to Asia in the 16th Century to announce the Gospel in this important part of the world. St Francis Xavier was a Jesuit, a companion of St Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits.  Pope Francis has been a member of the Jesuits during his religious and priestly life.

I pray, as all of us do, that Pope Francis will have the health, guidance and strength to lead, guide and serve the Church in his high office for many years to come.

And you kind find the last part of this series here.

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