"A Very Humble, Personable Man"

Archbishop Conti, and Others, on the New Pope

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NEW YORK, APRIL 19, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Bishops in various countries quickly welcomed news of the election of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as Pope. Here are excerpts from some of the press statements released today.

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Archbishop Mario Conti of Glasgow, Scotland

I know the new Pope personally. I have had the honor of meeting him several times over the years in Rome. He is a very humble, personable man, quite different from the hard-line «enforcer» image which is often portrayed of him.

He is a man of great theological ability, linguistically talented, kindly of manner and of enormous pastoral and administrative experience. He was of course very close to Pope John Paul, knew his mind, and
collaborated very closely with him. But he is his own man, and will bring his own gifts to the papacy, to the Church and the world.

He will speak and write with a clear voice. He showed in his sermon at the late Pope’s funeral that he had the gift of communicating with vast crowds. He spoke simply, directly and movingly. Many who had only
known him as the great enforcer were surprised at his kindly, gentle, affectionate words that day.

The choice of name is interesting, and I would say, inspiring. The last Pope to bear that name, Benedict XV, was a man of enormous humility who spent himself in the cause of peace. I think we may find a clue to
the style of pontificate we are likely to see in that choice of name.

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Cardinal Keith O’Brien
Archbishop of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh, Scotland

It has been a great joy for me to share with my brother cardinals in the election of Cardinal Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI, he is a man of deep spirituality, a renowned theologian and a wonderful choice as Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church.

The election of a Pope is a time of joy and hope for Catholics in Scotland and around the world. I am sure that Scotland’s Catholics and all people of goodwill in our country will join with me in asking God’s fullest blessings on our new Pope — his greatest title is perhaps the most simple, «Servant of the servants of God»; may he indeed serve all peoples as Christ served and did his holy predecessor pope John Paul II.

May our new Pope work for peace throughout the world following the example of his earlier predecessor Pope Benedict XV who died at the time of the First World War.

St. Benedict is one of the patron saints of Europe; may he inspire us as we remember Europe’s Christian roots and may our new Pope also keep before his own mind and ours the final words in St. Benedict’s rule; ‘Place no one before Christ.'»

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Bishop Peter Moran of Aberdeen, Scotland

The electors who choose a Pope draw on their wisdom and their experience: but even more, they make their choice after much prayer. We believe that their choice is guided by the Holy Spirit of God. We believe that Pope Benedict XVI is God’s choice.

On a human level and on a political level the choice is very interesting.

Before Pope John Paul II, the choice of a German to be Pope would have been astonishing, almost unheard of; today, we take this particular aspect almost for granted. But once again we have a Pope who grew up in difficult times, under a harsh regime, and in his young adulthood saw his country divided.

What about Pope Benedict’s age? He is 78. I was in Rome nearly 50 years ago when Giovanni Roncalli, Pope John XXIII, was elected at 78, and people nodded and said, «Oh, just a stopgap Pope.» He surprised us all. Joseph Ratzinger may well surprise us, too. He may be elderly in years, but he is vigorous, clearheaded, widely read, cultured and very, very experienced.

I look forward to a steady but energetic pontificate.

— — —

Archbishop Brendan O’Brien
President, Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops

Most Holy Father …

The ministry that you are beginning holds greater interest than ever to a world which has truly become a «global village» through the instant communications of Internet and the mass media. Aware of the global dimensions of its challenges and problems, contemporary society is searching for a universal pastor and teacher to proclaim the news of salvation, who articulates the joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of this age, and who reminds the followers of Christ that all which is genuinely human is echoed in the hearts and minds of the community of faith.

Making our own the words of Saint Paul in his letter to the Romans, appealing through our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Holy Spirit, my brothers and sisters in faith join me in earnest prayer to Our Father on your behalf, that the God of hope fill you with joy and peace.

— — —

Archbishop Sean Brady of Armagh and primate of All Ireland

The election of our new Pope is not only a source of great joy and hope for Catholics throughout the world, it is also an important event for the whole human family. At the beginning of the third millennium we are blessed with a deeper sense of our common humanity and with a shared sense of responsibility in striving for a more just and peaceful world.

Pope Benedict XVI will play a critical part in progressing this search, in engaging with people of all faiths and none in constructive dialogue about the joy and hopes, the challenges and the fears of the world. This is a daunting prospect.

So I ask Catholics throughout Ireland and all people of good will to pray for Pope Benedict XVI the 264th successor to Saint Peter as he begins his pontificate.

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