Malaysian Catholics welcome new Pope

Pope Francis appearing on the balcony over St. Peter's Square to wild cheers from the crowd below.

When 115 Cardinals all over the world gathered together for the Conclave  in the Sistine chapel on March 12, to elect a new Pope, the 1.2 billion Roman Catholics in the world, waited with anticipation to find out who will be their Holy Father, a name affectionately given to the Pope.

They did not have to wait long.

Just two days later, and after four rounds of balloting, the name Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, 76, came out as the majority choice.

The Catholic Church has a new Pope.

Jorge Maria Bergoglio, the 266th Pope, became the first Pope coming from Latin America.

He took the name of Francis, after St Francis of Assisi, the saint who is well known for his simplicity and a lover of the poor.

Citizen Journalists Malaysia (CJMY) spoke to a few Catholics in Malaysia to find out their reaction to the news of the new pope.

Paul Seah

I pray that his characteristics of humility, compassion and thriftiness will be the core foundation of his leadership to rejuvenate our Church in challenging the rapid modernisation of the world.

Jude Manickam

Jude Manickam

I like the name he has chosen – Francis, and as others have already commented, the link with Francis of Assisi and the work that he was entrusted with “Rebuild My Church” is particularly intriguing to say the least – as a seemingly direct response to one of the reasons attributed to the Pope emeritus’ resignation was the problems the church is going through today.

He is considered humble; reportedly rides a bus in Argentina when on his pastoral visits and lives in his own apartment instead of residence for the Bishop and cooks his own meals.

Anyway, he is now 76, how much time is he going to need to begin ‘rebuilding’ the church?

Will he be another ‘interim pope’ like his predecessor?

Patricia Pereira

Patricia Pereira

Quoting from  Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., director of the Holy See Press Office, Patricia like to share this:

“Jesuits are characterized by their service to the Church, collecting all the charisma that the Lord gives us wherever they are needed, but trying to avoid positions of power.

For me, this election takes on the meaning of a call to serve, a strong call and not a quest for power or authority.

I am absolutely convinced that we have a Pope who wants to serve. His election was the election of a rejection of power.”

Johann Gregory

My humble hope from the Pope is to stand for the truth and fear not to help the Mother church to implement new ways to help Catholics be closer to God.

Sudhagaran Stanley

Sudhagaran Stanley

My first reaction was disappointment because once again, a younger person was not chosen as the Pope.

It looks like Vatican has no room for young leaders to lead the Church.

Jesus was 33 when he started building the Church. 

Anyway, I don’t know anything about him yet,  but I will have to put my trust on God for he has allowed this for some reason.

So as a faithful Catholic, let’s all give him our full support and help build the Church together.

 Raphael Jonathan Soh

I feel blessed to have a new Pope.

I did not expect the result will come out that soon but feel happy with it.

At the same time I am very sure Pope Francis will help to move our Catholic church forward.

Steven Lee

I think Pope Francis is a genius.

In his opening speech which was telecast all over the world live, he chose to pray Our Father and the Hail Mary, and also asked the thousands there to pray for him and also all those watching and listening to him on the radio, TV and internet.

He shows that he knows the power of modern media, and his message is simple; pray for your neighbour.

Dr Chris Anthony

Chris Anthony

He is definitely going to have a tough time putting his house in order with the numerous scandals involving his clergy.

The church under Pope Francis has a monumental task to deal with these scandals that have marred its role as the moral judge in the world.

The church in general is slowly losing touch with the ordinary man in today’s complex world.

Can the new Pope restore the trust and regain the relevance of the church in the lives of the people? We hope he can or at least try to do his best in the right direction?

Let’s pray that God bless the new Holy Father with good health, vitality and above all great wisdom to lead the church in the right path to peace in a world torn apart by hate, violence, greed, and decaying morality.

The church is at a crossroad and we hope and pray Pope Francis will be able to work closely with the leaders of the world to chart a new and right course for mankind towards God and His ways.

Fr Jojo M Fung

The election of Pope Francis is yet another unpredictable ‘surprise’ of God’s Spirit!

To bow his head and ask the crowd at the St Peter’s Square to pray for him is “breaking away” from the age-old traditions ecclesiastical ceremonial rubrics.

This is the power of the Holy Spirit working through this first Jesuit who is chosen as the Pope  and the world community of humankind.

Fr Martin Arlando

Fr Martin Arlando

I don’t have any favourites but just be open to whoever the Holy Spirit chooses and prompts to respond.

Most importantly, I guess we need one who would respond to the current needs of the Church and guides us all according to God’s will.

 I believe from what I see, hear and read, we have one who is close to the people’s heart and walks his talks.

He is humble as we have seen in his very first appearance of requesting the people to pray for him even before he imparts God’s blessings to all of us.

He didn’t forget the past and prayed specially for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

Best of all, he entrusted the whole Church and his ministry to Mother Mary under Her guidance and maternal care.

He has captured it all and more to come.

I am excited and rejuvenated further in my ministry participating and experiencing all this events taking place. God Bless.

Fr Dominic Santhiyagu

Fr Dominic Santhiyagu

It was an unexpected surprise to find out that Cardinal Jorge from Argentina was the choice.

He was not among any of  the ‘heavyweight’ candidates that many front-runners predicted might get elected.

Anyway, I like the fact that he choose the name Francis, after St Francis of Assisi.

This reflected his simplicity and going back to the basics.

A Pope from Latin America is also an ideal choice,  to rejuvenate the Catholics there, as many countries in Latin America has a high Catholic population..