Anglican Communion leaders welcome new Pope
The Archbishop of Canterbury and Secretary General of the Anglican Communion have welcomed the appointment of the 266th pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church, Jorge Mario Bergoglio.
Pope Francis, as he will be known, is the first Pope from Latin America.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop Justin Welby, offered his warmest welcome to the election of Cardinal Bergoglio as the successor to His Holiness Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI: “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.
“As I begin tomorrow a prayer pilgrimage toward my own inauguration as Archbishop in Canterbury next Thursday, Pope Francis will be much in my own prayers, as he will be throughout the coming months and years.”
Secretary General of the Anglican Communion Canon Kenneth Kearon said, “Millions of Anglicans throughout the world will join me in praying for Pope Francis and his future ministry and leadership among our brothers and sisters in the Roman Catholic Church. The symbolism of electing a non-European emphasises the shift of the centre of world Christianity. We pray for him in the many challenges he and all who serve in positions of Christian leadership face today.”
Pope Francis replaces Pope Benedict who made history last month by being the first Pope to retire in 598 years.