Archbishop Carroll says new Pope will be his own man

Welcoming the election of Pope Benedict XVI, Australian Catholic Bishops Conference President, Archbishop Francis Carroll, said that while the new Pope may lack the charisma of Pope John Paul II, he will be "operate in his own way" and be "the pope for this time".

Archbishop Carroll, of the Archdiocese of Canberra-Goulburn, was speaking on ABC Radio's AM program this morning from St Peter's Square.

"Because of the prayer of the Catholic faithful throughout the world and the prayerful discernment of the cardinals, I believe he will be the pope for this time," he said.

"I think we have to believe that in faith," Archbishop Carroll continued. "He's also a very experienced leader of the church, and I believe will give strong leadership to the Church."

He said taht he believes that Benedict XVI "will continue very much the agenda of Pope John Paul II".

"Certainly he will not have the charisma of Pope John Paul. I think every pope has their own personality. But I don't think that's anything to be worried about. He will operate in his own way."

Meanwhile the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference issued a statement in which Archbishop Carroll said he joins with all Catholics in praying for the new Pope as he took on the "awesome" responsibility of leading the world's one billion Catholics.

"The election of a new Pope is a joyous time and we have seen that joy in the crowds gathered in St Peter's Square today," he said.

"We pray for our new Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, as he begins his journey in the footsteps of St Peter and pledge our allegiance to him as he faces the challenges ahead."

Archbishop Carroll said that as the former Dean of the College of Cardinals and Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the new Pope was already a well known figure.

"He has given many years of outstanding service to the Church and is possessed of a renowned theological intellect," he said.

"In recent days, people the world over have been touched by the sensitivity of his homily at the Funeral Mass for Pope John Paul II in which he paid tribute to the late Pope's complete submission to Christ's call to: "Follow me".

"We pray for Pope Benedict XVI as he too continues to answer Christ's call, in his new role as our Holy Father."

ABC Radio AM (transcript - to come)
Australian Catholic Bishops Conference President welcomes election of Pope Benedict XVI (Australian Catholic Bishops Conference 20/4/05)

20 Apr 2005