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.
Yours sincerely in Christ,
Archbishop of Melbourne