7:00pm Thursday 14th March 2013
By David Wiles
CATHOLICS in Swindon have welcomed the appointment of the new Pope Francis, the first Latin American – and the first Jesuit – pope.
The Rev Canon John Cunningham, the parish priest of Holy Rood Church, in Groundwell Road, said: “I think it’s an inspired choice. I think the image he has created of being a simple man, a man of prayer, a man who doesn’t particularly like the trappings of power. I think he’s conveying the image of Christ that I really relate to.
“And I think choosing the name of Francis after presumably St Francis of Assisi, he’s trying to convey that in an even stronger way.
“From being very much a man of the people, he’s wanting to travel with the people, and his message he preached from the balcony of St Peter’s was love, simple but not the less powerful.
“There will be a sense of renewal in the church. Benedict was an absolutely excellent pope as well, but I think he might well put a different emphasis on the faith and reach out beyond Europe where the church is growing, but also within Europe.
“It’s positive that he can have a fresh look at issues that are facing the church of today and indeed the church of tomorrow.
“Pope Benedict was very much living in the Vatican area for 20 to 30 years before he was pope. This man is coming from a totally different continent.”
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