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Welby praises new Pope’s ‘simplicity’; Ordinariate in question

by
15 March 2013

by Simon Caldwell

AP

THE Archbishop of Canterbury has praised the "simplicity and holiness" of Cardinal Bergoglio, the newly elected Pope Francis.

"We wish Pope Francis every blessing in the enormous responsibilities that he has assumed on behalf of Roman Catholics around the world.

"His election is also of great significance to Christians everywhere, not least among Anglicans. We have long since recognised - and often reaffirmed - that our Churches hold a special place for one another. I look forward to meeting Pope Francis, and to walking and working together to build on the consistent legacy of our predecessors. May the love of Christ unite us, and intensify our service in a genuine and fruitful ecumenism that can be a blessing for the Body of Christ throughout the world.

"Pope Francis is well known as a compassionate pastor of real stature who has served the poor in Latin America, and whose simplicity and holiness of life is remarkable. He is an evangelist, sharing the love of Christ which he himself knows. His choice of the name Francis suggests that he wants to call us all back to the transformation that St Francis knew and brought to the whole of Europe, fired by contemplation and closeness to God."

The election was welcomed by the Most Revd Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster and president of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales. "As he begins his new Apostolic ministry, as the Bishop of Rome and Shepherd of the universal Church, Pope Francis I may be assured of the prayers and loving support of the Catholic community throughout England and Wales."

On Thursday, the Anglican Communion News Service reported that the Anglican Bishop of Argentina and former Primate of the Southern Cone, the Rt Revd Greg Venables, had issued a note praising Pope Francis: "He is much more of a Christian, Christ centered and Spirit filled, than a mere churchman. He believes the Bible as it is written.

"I have been with him on many occasions, and he always makes me sit next to him and invariably makes me take part and often do what he as Cardinal should have done. He is consistently humble and wise, outstandingly gifted yet a common man. He is no fool and speaks out very quietly yet clearly when necessary."

Bishop Venables reports a conversation with Cardinal Bergoglio in which the latter gave his view of Anglicans. "He called me to have breakfast with him one morning and told me very clearly that the Ordinariate was quite unnecessary, and that the Church needs us as Anglicans."

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