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Slovak politicians and churchmen react to election of new pope

Slovak politicians and religious representatives have been reacting to the March 13 election of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina to head the Roman-Catholic Church as Pope Francis.

Slovak politicians and religious representatives have been reacting to the March 13 election of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina to head the Roman-Catholic Church as Pope Francis.

Prime Minister Robert Fico congratulated him, wishing him many good decisions. He said he would soon invite him to visit Slovakia on the occasion of the 1150th anniversary of the arrival of Ss Cyril and Methodius to Slovakia. The Slovak Foreign Ministry informed the TASR newswire that it was convinced that Pope Francis would be a strong moral authority for the modern globalised world, pushing through in a versatile way understanding and solidarity among nations and supporting the expanding dialogue among cultures and religions.

President Ivan Gašparovič expressed his belief that Francis’ pontificate will contribute to further improvement of bilateral ties between Slovakia and the Holy See, TASR reported.

Head of the Conference of Bishops of Slovakia, Archbishop Stanislav Zvolenský, expressed surprise at the prompt election of the new pope, adding that he was nonetheless happy about it. Zvolenský added, as quoted by TASR, that after Easter he would renew the invitation, originally made to Pope Benedict XVI, for the pontiff to attend celebrations later this year connected with Ss Cyril and Methodius.

Slovak priest Ivan Rupnik, who like the new pope is a Jesuit and who knows Francis personally, described him as a man of deep faith who respected the Marian belief, and has “strong social feeling”. The SITA newswire quoted Zvolenský as saying that the speed with which the new pope was elected proved that the cardinals’ choice was a well-prepared one.

Catholic priest and former spokesman of the Conference of Bishops Marián Gavenda told SITA that the new pope might bring the vitality of Latin America to Europe. The leader of the opposition Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) party, Ján Figeľ, commented that in the person, life story and chosen name of Francis, the title God’s Servant has an even stronger expression.

Sources: TASR, SITA

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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