When news happens, text SDE and your photos or videos to 80360. Or contact us by email and phone.
Pope Francis I can lead church through troubles says Bishop of Portsmouth
11:33am Thursday 14th March 2013 in News
The head of the Catholic Church in Hampshire believes new Pope Francis I can lead the faith out of its troubles.
Bishop of Portsmouth, Bishop Philip Egan said that although the new Holy Father is 76 he will bring energy and wisdom to the church.
He said: “You’ve got here a man of incredible wisdom and he seems to have a lot of energy.
“For all the things that need to be tackled in the church at the moment, it perhaps needs someone with a steady hand.”
The new papacy will include leading the church through the current sex abuse scandal and on-going conflict between the church and issues of contraception, abortion, the introduction of women priests and same sex marriage.
Bishop Egan feels Pope Francis will be able to cope with leading the church through its problems.
He said: “When I look back through the history of the church, it’s always been in crisis.
“Each era is troubled in its own way.
“Anyone in leadership in the church has to make difficult choices.”
However, the Bishop didn’t expect Pope Francis to be elected.
He said: “The Holy Spirit has surprised us again. I had no idea it was going to be Pope Francis.
“I’m sort of excited to see what is to come because it’s not who I thought it would be.
“I do hope that this Pope will have a sense of the challenges of Western Europe, including a loss of faith in Europe which is leading to a crisis in values.”
He spoke of how when a population does not believe in God people begin to fight for power and control.
“He’s from Latin America, and the church in Latin America is very big and has for several years been on the side of the poor. There’s an evangelical simplicity to this man. I think he will bring that to the church and I think that’s very good.”
As well as being the first Latin American pope, Pope Francis is also the first Jesuit, who characteristically makes important decisions through discernment, a process of retreating to perform spiritual exercises in which they ask God’s guidance.
The Bishop said: “I think that after five hundred years of the Jesuit order it’s time to have a Jesuit pope.
“One of the great gifts of the Jesuits is the fidelity of the church and the gift of discernment.”
Although the Latin American Jesuit Pope Francis brings many firsts to the Vatican, he has many similar values to his predecessors and is known to be against abortion and homosexuality.
Bishop Egan said: “It’s the same thing always, so in that sense it is traditional but it’s how you see it and how you do it.
“There’s a consistency always but at the same time an element of development.”