Pontiff will 'understand SA'

SOUTH African Catholic Church Archbishop William Slattery yesterday expressed happiness on the election of Pope Francis, who comes from Buenos Aires in Argentina.

"He is known to be a very holy and simple man.

"Even though he was a bishop in a comfortable city, he lived in a small house, did not have a driver, preferred catching the bus and cooked for himself," said Slattery.

Slattery said the fact that Argentina has, like South Africa, experienced political difficulties also makes the new pope a good choice.

"This man will understand us because of our struggle with independence. He knows the purpose of liberty."

He also welcomed the pope's emphasis on brotherhood.

"We feel this man's teachings will make us to respect each other as Africans and live in fraternity with each other," said Slattery.

Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba said: "I am heartened by the experienced bishop and archbishop, a humble man who takes his vows of poverty and simplicity seriously and also understands the needs of the poor and social justice. He is a caring pastor, capable and a no-nonsense administrator who is skilled in both theology and science." - monnakgotlam@sowetan.co.za

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