Pope Francis addresses the College of Cardinals in the Vatican's Clementine Hall March 15. Young people need the wisdom and knowledge of older people, whose insight is like "fine wine that gets better with age," he told the cardinals. CNS photo/L'Osserv atore Romano)

Religious groups, movements applaud election of Pope Francis

By  Catholic News Service
  • March 17, 2013

VATICAN CITY - Religious groups and movements worldwide applauded the election of Pope Francis and are looking forward to the impact he will have on the church and other religious groups.

"The name that he has chosen as pope is already a glimpse of the pontificate that he will bring forth: simplicity and humility," said Kiko Arguello, co-founder of the Neocatechumenal Way, a parish-based faith formation program.

"We are convinced that he is a providential pope for these times and he will bring the Gospel tirelessly around the world."

Arguello noted that the pope has always been close to the Neocatechumenal Way and has presided over celebrations of the group's communities in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

"Pope Francis will be a tireless herald of the Gospel. He is without a doubt a great hope for the church, and all the people of the Neocatechumenal Way will pray for him and for his pontificate," he said.

In a March 14 statement to all members of the Augustinian order, Father Robert F. Prevost, prior general of the Augustinians, described Pope Francis as someone "well known for his simple lifestyle and for his commitment to the poor."

He urged Augustinians to pray for the new pope that God would guide him "and through his ministry may the entire church be blessed."

Bernd Nilles, secretary-general for the international alliance of Catholic development agencies, CIDSE, said his organization hopes Pope Francis "will bring the church new perspective on the challenges humanity faces. Respect for nature, justice and the option for the poor are important values in Catholic teaching which could receive high attention by the new Holy Father, who has chosen Francis as his papal name. Humility, respect for all of creation, and even a certain asceticism are all positive messages for the church and the world of today."

He noted that the pope, as former archbishop of Buenos Aires, is "well aware of the reality of poor communities and social injustice."

Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the World Council of Churches, called the election of Pope Francis "a turning point" for the Catholic Church that would also have "an impact on people of other churches and faiths."

He said the organization looks forward to working with the pope to continue building its positive relationship with the Catholic Church "that has been nurtured so carefully in the past."

Similarly, Guy Liagre, general secretary of the Conference of European Churches, praised the election of Pope Francis. He said the election of a pope from Latin America "came as a surprise, but shows the emerging influence of the region in the Catholic Church and the world."

He said the Conference of European Churches congratulates the cardinals for their "history-making decision."

Liagre offered prayers for the pope that he would be "a witness of hope, justice, peace and reconciliation in the world."

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