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Spain's religious groups positive on Pope Francis

George Mills · 14 Mar 2013, 16:28

Published: 14 Mar 2013 16:28 GMT+01:00

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"I'm surprised and delighted the conclave was able to elect a new president so quickly," the Anglican Church's Dean Emeritus of Gibraltar Alan Woods told The Local.

"It's also wonderful that the cardinals voted for an 'outsider,'" said Woods, who is currently locum chaplain at St George's in Madrid.

"The new pope obviously cares for the poor and his lifestyle reflects that.

"When he was made a cardinal, he told people not to travel to Rome but to spend that money on poor people instead."

The Gibraltar dean emeritus said he had been hopeful that the conclave might vote for an African pope, but was also very pleased that a South American pope had been chosen.

"With so many of the world's Catholics in South America, this is a promising development."

Woods said he hoped Pope Francis would pursue a poverty eradication-oriented agenda.

The dean emeritus said he was also interested in how the Roman Catholic church can move forward while holding onto the positive aspects of its heritage.

He then expressed a hope that the new Argentinian pope would be ecumenical, including in terms of strengthening the dialogue with Anglican Church's Diocese in Europe. 

The president of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain (FCJE), Isaac Querub Caro, had a similar message about dialogue.

"The FCJE believes that the the new pope will progress and deepen the conversation between the Catholic Church that started with the Second Vatican Council," Caro told The Local. 

"Jews and the Catholic Church have to work together towards a mutual appreciation," the FCJE president said.

"We also want to see that reflected in day-to-day life in Spain." 

"We wish the Pope health and strength so that he can successfully carry out his papal duties," concluded Caro.

Story continues below…

Meanwhile, the Security General of the Episcopal Conference of Spain (ECS) Juan Antonio Martínez Camino said the arrival of the new pope was reason for "great joy".

"This is a cause of great joy for Spanish bishops and for the whole church," said the Assistant Bishop of Madrid in a press conference.

"Most of us (Spanish bishops) know Francisco I personally and we are very happy to have a people with such a close relationship to Spain.

"We are at the pope's disposition and look forward to working with him," the ECS spokesperson said. 

George Mills (george.mills@thelocal.com)

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