Brisbane Archbishop hails "almost unanimous selection"

Archbishop John Bathersby has said he would join with Catholics around the globe in praying for the new Pope as he takes on the enormous responsibility of leading a congregation of over one billion people.

"I was somewhat surprised by the speed, but not by the choice," Archbishop Bathersby said. "It indicates that he was almost a unanimous selection."

Archbishop Bathersby acknowledged that as the former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, there was no better respected theologian in the world than Cardinal Ratzinger.

"While each Pope comes with their own particular qualities, I do believe the role can make the person too," he said. "We've been surprised in the recent past with Pope John XXIII who was supposed to be a caretaker but proved to be quite a revolutionary pontiff.

"I do believe he will continue to preach the Magisterium of the Church, but as a key architect of Vatican II, he will also try to bring forth the joy, happiness and energy that Christ's message holds."

In Adelaide, Archbishop Philip Wilson described the new Holy Father as a "grand interpreter of the Catholic faith".

Ill and not available for media interviews, Archbishop Wilson issued a statement in which he said the election of a new Pope is a "moment of birth and growth for the Church".

Melbourne's Archbishop Denis Hart expressed gratitude to the Cardinals, "who have provided a holy and wise shepherd who will reach out beyond the boundaries of the Church and be a tireless facilitator of peace in the world."

Speaking from Rome, Sydney Archbishop Cardinal George Pell told the ABC that he believes the new Pope will "introduce teaching and ideas that may surprise some of his critics".

Cardinal Pell said the new Pope's reputation as an ideological enforcer is undeserved and in fact the new Pope's staunch defence of doctrine could actually increase church attendance in western countries, where he says there is clearly a crisis of faith that Pope Benedict will address.

Archbishop John Batherbsy welcomes the election of Pope Benedict XVI (Archdiocese of Brisbane 20/4/05)
Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson welcomes electino of Pope Benedict XVI (Archdiocese of Adelaide 20/4/05)
Press release of Archbishop Denis Hart (Archdiocese of Melbourne 20/4/05)
Pell predicts surprises from new Pope (ABC News 20/4/05)

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Melbourne Catholic Commission for Justice, Development and Peace 20/4/05)
Young Catholics welcome Pope Benedict XVI (Archdiocese of Melbourne 20/4/05)
Election of Pope Benedict XVI (Uniting Church in Australia National Assembly 20/4/05)
Australian Catholics react to Ratzinger's election (ABC TV 7:30 Report 20/4/05)
Cardinal Pell shares friendship with new Pope (ABC Radio PM 20/4/05)
John Howard congratulates Pope Benedict XVI (ABC Radio The World Today 20/4/05)
ACU National welcomes Pope Benedict XVI (Australian Catholic University 20/4/05)
Realist best man for these testing times (The Courier Mail 21/4/05)
Pope tipped to visit Australia (Herald-Sun 21/4/05)
Mixed reaction to Ratzinger's appointment (Sydney Morning Herald 21/4/05)
Cousin recalls boy who dreamed of church life (The Age 21/4/05)
Melbourne clerics happy at the news (The Age 21/4/05)
Welcome Mass but no mass welcome (The Age 21/4/05)
Business as usual, says papal pal Pell (The Australian 21/4/05)
Kiwi Catholic leaders approve choice of pope (NZPA/stuff.co.nz 21/4/05)

21 Apr 2005