The Catholic church has a new pope: what the Dutch papers say

The appointment of 76-year-old Argentinian Jorge Mario Bergoglio as pope Francis shows the Catholic church has opted for renewal, Dutch papers said on Thursday.

The new pope’s first appearance made it immediately clear that a new wind is blowing through the Vatican, the Telegraaf said.

The new pope is building a bridge between those who are religious and those who are not, the paper said.

‘But in the main, pope Francis will have to make a new start in terms of recovering confidence in the church following the sexual abuse scandal and the problems in the Vatican,’ the paper said.


The AD said Francis’ first appearance showed the new pope is at ease in ordinary society. ‘Like Francis of Assisi, he emphasises the sober and spiritual life,’ the paper said.

However, the paper questioned whether the pope will be able to bring about the necessary renewal. ‘He is elderly and the resignation of his predecessor shows that the burden on the shoulders of church leaders can be unbearable,’ the AD said.

Henk Muller in the Volkskrant said the choice of an Argentinian Jesuit shows the church’s focus will shift to the developing world. Some 40% of the world’s Catholics live in Latin America, the paper points out.


Pope Francis’ mission is one of social justice and this is emphasised by his choice of name, Muller says. Francis not only created a reform movement within the church but Franciscans oppose corruption and wealth. And being a Jesuit, the new pope will have built up a vast international network, he points out.

The NRC highlights some of the new pope’s earlier statements on homosexuality, abortion and euthanasia. For example, while saying he respects individual homosexuals, in 2010 he wrote that gay marriage is a ‘destructive attack on God’s plan’.

‘Francis will certainly bring a new style to the Vatican’, the paper’s foreign correspondent Marc Leijendekker wrote in an analysis. But he is certainly not progressive, the paper said.


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