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Archbishop John Batherbsy welcomes the election of Pope Benedict XVI

The Most Rev John Bathersby DD, Archbishop of Brisbane, has welcomed the news of the election of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as the new Pope.

Taking the name of Pope Benedict XVI, the new pontiff was elected on the second day of the Conclave of Cardinals.

Archbishop Bathersby 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.”

The Archbishop also said the perceptions of the new Pope were at odds with the man he has previously encountered.

“As a person he is a most gentle and courteous.”

“I recall one day seeing him waiting at a bus stop near St Peter’s Piazza in Rome.

“Some young person came up and started talking to him and they engaged in conversation for about 20 minutes. It made me reflect on what a humble person he is.”

Released by the Catholic Communications Office

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