• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Pope Francis surprises German Catholic bishops

The Local · 14 Mar 2013, 12:31

Published: 14 Mar 2013 12:31 GMT+01:00

Robert Zollitsch, head of the German Bishop's Conference, said the new pope, 76-year-old Argentinian Jorge Mario Bergoglio, was, despite his age, powerful and ready to fulfil his papal duties.

He said he was not concerned that Europe would lose power in the Catholic Church now that there was a South American pontiff, as “Francis is a man who watches Europe very closely.” He added that in the moment a person becomes pope, their heritage takes a backseat.

"He knows that he represents Church globally. This was the way it was before and will be the way with the new pope, in whom I have faith,” said Zollitsch.

On Wednesday evening, Germany's two youngest Cardinals were present at the Vatican's celebratory banquet, leaving two older members to answer questions at a press conference following the announcement, Die Welt reported.

Joachim Meisner, Archbishop of Cologne and Bishop Karl Lehmann were both visably exhausted after partaking in the conclave but, the newspaper said, seemed satisfied with the outcome. “We have done our job well, we have a pope,” said Meisner.

While those privy to the conclave are sworn to secrecy, both cardinals made no secret out of their surprise over the speedy election of Francis.

Lehmann said that the conclave seemed more relaxed this time round, with cardinals from different countries more willing to mix. “I would have guessed that various groups of cardinals would have been dead set on their respective favourites,” he said.

Instead, the atmosphere was reportedly much more open. “The majority of cardinals were not expecting the result,” said Meisner, who added that as soon as the conclave began he cast aside his initial presumptions as to who would be the next pope.

He added that he had only met Francis briefly at other events but always thought he had a “papal calibre” and was excited to see what he was going to bring to the Church. “Although his accent will be different, of course,” Meisner said.

Meisner, a good friend of the last pope, said that he imagined Benedict XVI would “chuckle and say that God had reached his goal” - Francis was in the running at the same time as the German pontiff eight years ago.

Francis' ascension to the papal seat also sparked comment from a wide swath of German society. The Central Council of Jews in Germany said that it hoped Catholic-Jewish relations would improve under the new pope, as relations had not always run smoothly with Benedict at the helm of the Church.

Story continues below…

In the political sphere, Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was “particularly pleased for Christians in Latin America, who for the first time have one of their own as the head of the Catholic Church.”

President Joachim Gauck was impressed with Bergoglio's choice of name, as Francis' namesake was a saint known for his devotion to helping the poor and needy.

DPA/DAPD/The Local/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

14:08 March 14, 2013 by royp
Wrong Saint Francis, there are two, one was the dippy hippy one with animals etc in assisi, the other was Xavier, the jesuit, the same order that the Pope is from, more likely as the first Jesuit he would choose it based upon a Saint from his order?
16:03 March 14, 2013 by Istabraq
33/1 outsider who apparently finished runner up in the last race won by Razinger. He was fancied to win the last one but got shafted by the other cardinals. Corrupt politics is no stranger to the vatican either.
12:12 March 15, 2013 by ichbines
Hmmm...looks like a typical fat, balding dumb good old boy! Why Francis? They could have used something catchier like Fahkcis.
Today's headlines
Merkel party leader admits sexism is a problem
Jenna Behrends complained that a member of CDU's Berlin government had called her a "big sweet mouse" in front of a large group. Photo: Sophia Kembowski/dpa

A leader of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative party admitted Sunday that it has a problem with sexism in its ranks.

Ethiopia's Bekele nears record as wins Berlin marathon
Participants in the Berlin marathon take to the streets on Sunday. Photo:Paul Zinken/dpa

Kenenisa Bekele narrowly missed out on the world record on Sunday as the Ethiopian won the Berlin marathon ahead of former winner Wilson Kipsang.

Europe needs deals to send migrants home: Merkel
Angela Merkal poses with Bulgaria's Prime minister Boyko Borissov (L) and Austrian chancellor Christian Kern (R) in Vienna. Photo: Joe Klamar/AFP

Europe needs to secure more deals to send rejected migrants home, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has told counterparts in Vienna.

Germany sees 'turning point' in birth rate decline
Children at a a kindergarten in Swabia. Photo: Nikolaus Lenau/Flickr

Is Germany's three-decade decline in birth rate now over?

Trump protesters rebuild and tear down 'Berlin Wall'
The 'Stop Trump' protest at the Brandenburg Gate. Photo: DPA.

US expats gathered at the Berlin's iconic Brandenburg Gate on Friday "rebuild" the Berlin Wall and protest US presidential candidate Donald Trump's own proposed wall-building.

Accusation of sexism within Merkel's party creates uproar
Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen and Chancellor Angela Merkel, two leading women in the CDU party. Photo: DPA.

A young politician from the ranks of Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) has caused a storm by suggesting that the party is institutionally sexist.

EasyJet 'in talks to buy German airline' to duck Brexit
Photo: DPA

EasyJet is in talks to acquire TUIfly, a board member of the German carrier said Friday, as the British no-frills airline looks for ways to keep flying freely within the EU after Britain quits the bloc.

Symbols of migrant plight to go on show in Bonn museum
Photo: DPA

A people smugglers' car, a dinghy and a life jacket are among items related to Europe's migration crisis due to go on display at a German museum.

Brexit
Green party demand 'quick and easy' citizenship for Brits
Photo: DPA

The Green party has called for Brits living in Germany to be offered a painless path to obtaining dual citizenship as to "reassure them over the future".

Berlin the new London? 10m2 flat to rent for €750 a month
Photo: Immonet.de.

This shoebox apartment in the gentrified Bergmann-Kiez neighbourhood may be a sign that the tides are turning for Berlin’s comparatively cheap housing market.

Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Lifestyle
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Lifestyle
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
National
Seven great reasons to stay in Germany this September
National
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
National
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
National
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Travel
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
5,651
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd