8:00am Sunday 17th March 2013
By Rebecca Pearson
THE head of the Catholic church in Hampshire believes Pope Francis I is the right man to lead the faith out of its troubles.
Bishop of Portsmouth, the Right Reverend 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: “Each era is troubled in its own way.
“Anyone in leadership in the church has to make difficult choices.
“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.”
As well as being the first Latin American pope, Pope Francis I 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 500 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.”
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