Friday, 25 April 2014

Church dignitaries welcome new pope

15 March 2013

Prague, March 14 (CTK) - The choice of a Pope from Latin America is natural development, the New World's taking the "relay baton" also because Catholics in the rest of the world outnumber Europe's, Czech Cardinal Dominik Duka, who attended the election, has written on Prague Archbishopric's website.

"The Church is aware of the prevalence the rest of the world has over Europe in terms of the number of Catholics, and also of a certain disproportion in the representation the believers from these areas have in the Church leadership," Duka, Prague Archbishop and the Czech Catholic primate, writes.

He says already before the election he believed that the new Pope will come from Latin America, but he did not have any single favourite in mind.

In future, however, the role of the Pope's origin will gradually diminish, Duka continues.

"His way of choosing things to accent and to focus his mission on will be important," he adds.

"Pope Francis behaves very modestly and the supposition that he will be sensitive to social issues is quite substantiated. This has also been confirmed by his choice of his [papal] name. It is quite clear that he has chosen it to claim his adherence to St Francis of Assisi," Duka said, dismissing doubts about which St Francis the new Pope had in mind when adopting the name.

"All this will undoubtedly become evident during the new Pope's pontificate," Duka writes.

The new Pope is a renowned figure in Latin America. "He is a distinguished personality, a man who is very active, who has performed his mission in Argentina, which, to an extent, has been Latin America's leader for a long time," Duka said.

He says Pope Francis is interested in the young generation, mainly in view of the troubles it faces such as unemployment and insufficient support of education.

The election of a Jesuit as Pope mirrors the importance religious orders have in the Church yesterday, Duka continues.

"The emphasis the Jesuits place on education and a rational handling of contemporary questions indicates that Francis as the Pope will be developing Ecumenism, the dialogue between religions and also with searching people," Duka says.

The Pope, Buenos Aires Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio, studied in Latin America and in Germany.

"When I invited him to come to Moravia to mark [this year's] 1150th anniversary of the arrival of [Christian missionaries] SS Cyril and Methodius, we talked in German with each other," Duka writes.

It is impossible to say now whether Francis will accept the invitation, he adds.

The election of the new Pope has also been hailed by other Czech Catholic dignitaries.

"I'm curious to see what path he would prefer for the Church to embark on. It is nice of him to choose the name Francis, which is for the first time in the Church history. I'm praying for him and I believe I'm not the only to do so," said Brno Bishop Vojtech Cikrle.

He will celebrate a mass of thanks for the new Pope in the Brno cathedral on Sunday.

Jan Baxant, the Bishop of Litomerice, too, said he considers it important that the new Pope has chosen the name of a saint who did not cling to material assets.

"He gave them up voluntarily. The crisis that has been discussed often and everywhere now, can be overcome by modesty and soberness of the style of living," Baxant said.

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