Pope’s leadership crucial in modern world, says McAleese

POPE Benedict XVI’s leadership will be “crucial” amid the complexities of the modern world, says President Mary McAleese.

Conveying her good wishes to the new Pope last night, she said: “The world responded in grief and wonder to the passing of John Paul II. The election of his successor became the concern of very many people throughout the world.

“You embody their hopes for greater unity among peoples and a more just and caring human family. Your guidance and leadership amid the complexities of modern life will be crucial. May your acceptance of this tremendous burden of service bear fruit in our world.”

In Irish, the president added: “Go gcuidí Dia thú i mbun do chúraim nua (May God give you strength for these new cares).”

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said the “awesome responsibility” that came with occupying the See of Peter had, if anything, been increased by the scale of the impact made by the Pope’s predecessor, John Paul II.

“The worldwide impact of that pontificate and the outpouring of sorrow at his death, represents a resource and a source of encouragement for the new Pope,” said Mr Ahern. “It demonstrates that the world is waiting to hear his voice and receive his blessing.”

The Taoiseach sent his warmest congratulations to the Pope and reminded people that Pope John XXIII was the same age and had proven to be a great Church leader.

“I would love to see him visit here,” he said, adding that Pope John Paul II had planned a return visit.

“Pope Benedict XVI is a man of profound learning and knows only too well the pressures which await him in the office of Pope.

“He has chosen a name which associates him with the great mission of peace of the occupants of the See of Peter.

“All Irish men and women, whatever their tradition, will wish him well.”

Tánaiste Mary Harney said that Pope John Paul II had been “universally respected as a devout man of God, a bridge builder and a peacemaker” and she expected the same of his successor.

“Pope Benedict was a close friend of the late Pontiff and he will no doubt continue that good work and carry forward those same values and principles,” said Ms Harney.

“The hopes and prayers of the many millions of Catholics worldwide rest with the new Pope and I wish him well as he embarks on this challenging journey.”

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny, also wished the new Pope “every success” as head of the Catholic Church.

“He will need his considerable intellectual ability and experience to meet the serious challenges facing the Church at this time,” said Mr Kenny.

World reacts

“CARDINAL Joseph Ratzinger is a man of great wisdom and knowledge. He is a man who serves the Lord.”

US President George W Bush

“THAT the new Pope Benedict XVI comes from Germany, that is a great honour for our whole country.

In Pope Benedict XVI, a pope has been chosen who knows the world Church like no one else. He is a great, world-renowned theologian. Pope Benedict XVI is a worthy successor to Pope John Paul II.”

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder

“The US welcomes the announcement that the Sacred College of Cardinals has selected Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger to succeed John Paul and we look forward to working with His Holiness and the Holy See to build upon our excellent bilateral relationship and to promote human dignity across the world.”

US State Dept spokesman Adam Ereli

“His Holiness brings a wealth of experience to this exalted office. The UN and the Holy See share a strong commitment to peace, social justice, human dignity, religious freedom and respect among the world’s religions.”

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan

“I send Pope Benedict XVI my warmest congratulations and sincere good wishes for the high mission that has just been entrusted on the head of the Catholic Church. France will pursue the trusting dialogue that it has always had with the Holy See.”

French President Jacques Chirac

“We hope the strong and historic relations between Palestine and the Vatican will be as strong as ever and that the Vatican’s support for a just peace in the Holy Land will continue.”

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas

“Pope Benedict XVI assumes leadership at a critical time in which the world’s collective wisdom and leadership, including that of the religious community, is most important to face up to challenges of deepening poverty and under-development afflicting many people of the world.”

South African president Thabo Mbeki

“We wish Pope Benedict XVI every blessing in the immense responsibilities he is about to assume on behalf of Roman Catholics round the world. I look forward to meeting him and working together to build on the legacy of his predecessor.

Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, leader of Anglican Church

“I am sure he will follow and intensify the successful path opened by Pope John Paul II towards understanding between Christians and Jews.”

President of the Central Council of the Jews in Germany Paul Spiegel

“Ratzinger is a polarising figure to many, who seems to prefer combativeness to compassion. Still, we wish him well. It’s crucial the new pope follow the words and views of John Paul II who said ‘there is no place in the priesthood for anyone who would harm the young.’”

Mary Grant of US Survivors' Network of those abused by priests

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