Dublin’s Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has called Pope Francis a “real pastor,” who lives simply, cares for the sick and poor and keeps his distance from the military and Government.
Martin spoke to Cardinal Bergoglio at several synods, assemblies of bishops in the Roman Catholic Church. They spoke about the difficulties and challenges the Church in Ireland faced due to the sexual abuse crisis.
“He said very explicitly ’your challenges in Dublin, my challenges in a large city like Buenos Aires are very similar’ so his interest is being a pastor,” Martin told RTÉ.
“He was extraordinarily supportive.”
The Dublin Archbishop added that the pope’s choice of the name Francis, after St. Francis of Assisi, was “a clear indication that he has a very particular view of what the church and simplicity and poverty is about.”
Martin said the fact that the 155 cardinals chose a new pope from South America was an indication of where the Catholic Church was going.
Speaking from Rome, New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan, told “Today” on NBC that Pope Francis greeted his fellow cardinals “as brothers” and said the decision inside the conclave was a consensus.
Dolan said, “We cardinals noticed some things immediately that he was doing differently.”
When asked to address the cardinals from a raised platform after his election, he told the group, “No, I’m standing down here.” Dolan said, “So he greeted each of us as brothers, literally on the same level as we were...He got back on the bus with us, like he had been doing for the whole conclave.”
He said, “Those are little signs that send signals.”
Back in Ireland President Michael D Higgins conveyed his best wishes to the new pope. He said, “Despite the pressures and distractions of a more complex world, people all over the globe still yearn for a sense of spiritual meaning to their lives.
“Your leadership of the church will therefore be of immense importance in providing ethical guidance and moral encouragement towards a world that is more just, more compassionate and more focused on a shared sense of community.
“While your election to this challenging ministry of service brings great personal responsibilities, I sincerely hope it will also offer opportunities for peace and joy as you carry out your duties in solidarity with the wider church community.”
Similarly, Enda Kenny, leader of Fine Gael and the head of Ireland’s government said the election of Pope Francis symbolizes great hope for the Catholic people around the world.
He said, “On behalf of the Government and the people of Ireland, I offer warm congratulations to Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio on his election as Pope Francis.
“He has the best wishes of all Irish people, of all traditions, as he undertakes the immense responsibility of his pontificate.
“We pray that he will have the strength, the good health and the spiritual guidance needed to lead the Catholic Church in the many challenges it faces.”
Kenny also referenced Ireland’s strong ties to Argentina dating back to the mass emigration during the Irish Famine. He said, “The people of Ireland also send our congratulations to the people of Argentina, a country with which Ireland shares many historic bonds, on this occasion of great honour and pride for their nation.”