Latin America rejoices at election of Benedict XVI


Latin America is celebrating with joy the election of the new Pope, Benedict XVI.  From Mexico to Chile millions followed the first moments of the new Pontiff, who was chosen on the second day of the Conclave.

“I imagined him to be a man with a strong character, but he is not like that.  He is rather humble and simple.  He is a good man and has a beautiful human side that we will be discovering little by little,” said Auxiliary Bishop Jose Trinidad Gonzalez Rodriguez of Guadalajara, Mexico, who opened his residence to the Pope during a visit in 1996 when he was Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Monsignor Agustin Rivero, rector of the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico, noted that “in every Mass we will pray and give thanks for the new Vicar of God.”

In Venezuela, Archbishop Baltazar Porras Cardoza of Merida and President of the Bishops Conference, said Benedict XVI is “a very simple man with enormous experience regarding the problems of the Church.”

In Lima, where church bells rang out upon the announcement of the election, Bishop Hugo Garaycoa Hawkins of Tacna-Monquegua and President of the Peruvian Bishops Conference, said the Holy Father will have a different style than John Paul II.  “I think that each one has a different way of leading the Catholic Church, each Pope has his own style, and we cannot stereotype everything,” he stated.

Father Jorge Oesterheld, spokesman for the Bishops Conference of Argentina, said, “The election is very positive, a new Pope always means new possibilities and new times.  He will surely surprise many because he is a man of great capabilities and enormous knowledge of the Roman curia.”

In Montevideo, the President of the Uruguayan Bishops Conference, Bishop Pablo Galimberti, said the Catholic Church contemplates his election “with serene confidence.”  He noted the new Pope’s dedication to the struggle for human values and “his democratic and pluralist vision.”

Church bells in the historic downtown of Quito also rang out upon the election of Benedict XVI.  “The election of the new Pope is a best response to the needs of the Church at this time,” said the President of the Bishops Conference of Ecuador, Bishop Nestor Herrera Heredia of Machala.

“I think he will be a blessing for the Church in Bolivia and for the universal Church, in the sense that Benedict XVI will be the pastor of the people of God chosen by Jesus Christ for his Church and for today’s world which he loves so much,” said Bishop Jesus Juarez of El Alto and secretary of the Bolivian Bishops Conference.  “The new Pope, who has a profound knowledge of Latin America and the Spanish language, will help us to continue being the continent of hope,” said the President of the Bishops Conference of Chile, Bishop Alejandro Goic Karmelic of Rancagua.

The Apostolic Nuncio in Chile, Archbishop Aldo Cavalli, said he was pleased with the election of Benedict XVI and noted that Cardinal Ratzinger “is a Pope very capable and prepared given to us by God.”  He noted the new Pontiff was very prepared “for the great mission” of being the servant of God in the world.

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