Giovedì, 18 Ottobre 2018
VATICAN CITY

Italian bishops promise reverence and obedience to new pope

English
© ANSA

(by Fausto Gasparroni).
Vatican City, March 14 - Among the many
well-wishers applauding Wednesday's election of Pope Francis I
was the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI) which - in the
excitement of the moment - accidentally congratulated the wrong
candidate.
The CEI erroneously sent to journalists a press release
expressing the group's "joy and gratitude" at the election of
Milan's Archbishop Angelo Scola, who had previously been
rumoured to be a contender in the recent papal conclave.
In fact, after just two days of voting in conclave,
cardinals had actually elected Buenos Aires Archbishop Jorge
Mario Bergoglio as the latest pope to fill the original office
of St. Peter, the historic founder of the Catholic Church.
The office of Mariano Crociata, secretary general of the
CEI, quickly fixed its mistake, issuing an updated statement.
"I express the joy and gratitude of the episcopate and the
whole of the Italian Church in the election of Cardinal Jorge
Mario Bergoglio as the successor of Peter," said Crociata in his
statement.
He added that the moment was very "emotional" and reminded
Catholics of the parting words of retired Pope Benedict XVI,
that the Church remains a living being with its heart based in
Christ.
And the CEI enjoys a particular connection with the papacy,
added Crociata.
"A special bond unites our conference to the successor of
Peter, the Bishop of Rome and our primate, and makes us feel we
are privileged witnesses of the mission of the pope," said
Crociata.
He promised that his organization would offer unconditional
reverence and obedience to Pope Francis.
Francis, 76, is the first Jesuit pope, and the first
non-European pontiff in more than 1,300 years.
He is doctrinally conservative, like his predecessor
Benedict XVI, but he is considered to be a progressive due to
his strong support for helping the poor.
In the new pontiff's first words uttered from the balcony
of Rome's historic St Peter's Basilica, Francis said the
cardinals who elected him had chosen someone "from the end of
the Earth", then offered the classic prayer of Our Father for
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who stepped down last month.
The soft-spoken Pope Francis was elected roughly 24 hours
after the first voting sessions closed Tuesday - a quick
turnaround in an election where no clear front-runner had
emerged heading into balloting.
It took only five scrutinies, or ballots, to reach a
two-thirds majority, or 77 votes, among the 115
cardinal-electors inside the Sistine Chapel during the conclave.
Francis was a strong contender in 2005, coming in second
when cardinals ultimately elected Benedict XVI, say some Vatican
watchers. According to the diary of a cardinal-elector, Francis
also encouraged his supporters not to vote for him against
Benedict in 2005
The new pope is one of five children, and the son of a
railway worker. His parents were Italian immigrants from the
northern Italian region of Piedmont.
Francis, a key figure in the Church in South America, is
the 266th pope and leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.
As a cardinal he has been known for personal humility, a
commitment to social justice, and is known to draw significant
crowds in Argentina.

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