Catholics in Asia and Africa have joyfully welcomed Pope Benedict XVI, expressing their hope that he will continue to maintain the Church’s traditional teachings and values, reported CNSNews.com.
Filipino Cardinal Jaime Sin was ill and could not attend the conclave. But a spokesman said the cleric was satisfied that the new Pope belongs to the same tradition as Pope John Paul II.
The mayor of Manila and pro-life activist Lito Atienza said he was certain that Pope Benedict XVI would follow in John Paul’s footsteps on life issues.
This view was echoed in Kenya, where Catholics held a mass to celebrate the new pontiff at Nairobi’s Holy Family Basilica.
"Because of his closeness to John Paul, we expect him to take a similar stand on the issues of abortion and family planning," Kenyan Archbishop Ndingi Mwana a'Nzeki.
In neighboring Uganda, where HIV-AIDS infection rates have dropped significantly due to abstinence education, President Yoweri Museveni said he is looking forward to working closely with the new Pope.
In India, the All-India Catholic Union welcomed the choice of Pope Benedict XVI. The group's president, John Dayal, described him as "a pillar of peace, a strong votary of human rights and freedom of faith and a protagonist of the life of the unborn.
"As a strong pope, he will articulate our feeling and our needs in the globalized world,” he said. “He will, we are sure, also work for the renaissance of the Church in the modern world, and particularly in the West."