Rome, Italy, Mar 18, 2013 / 04:02 pm (CNA).- The retired cardinal of Parana, Argentina, described his friend Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio – now Pope Francis – as an able pastor with the heart of a missionary.
In an interview with CNA, Cardinal Estanislao Esteban Karlic said it was a “huge surprise” to see his friend appear on the loggia of St. Peter’s Basilica dressed in white.
“The Lord loves us so much, he gave us this immense gift.”
“I pray to God that I will not forget that moment so that I can thank him and so that I can pray for our beloved brother Jorge whom we will now call Francis,” the cardinal said.
He added that the Pope “carries in his heart the message of the Gospel so that it be spread throughout the world and received by all men and women, that it may infuse in us a missionary and evangelical spirit, to the ends of the earth, such that there be no place in the world where the name of Jesus is not heard.”
Cardinal Karlic said Pope Francis will help everyone “understand once again that we all have something to give to others, we all have something to receive from others.”
This is true, he said, “because the truth of God, of the Church, of humanity, is communion among those who love each other as brothers and sisters, as individuals, as families, as nations.”
The cardinal said that seeing a fellow Argentinian elected Pope “is not only a very great honor but also a call to follow his guidance” in serving God.
Pope Francis will always be the first Latin American Pope, he continued, explaining that “this represents a very important historical moment” and a sign of great fruit to be borne in the region’s sanctity.The Holy Father “is a very simple man” who is “capable of confronting the simplest and also the most complex of issues,” Cardinal Karlic continued.
“He is a man of reflection who puts his wisdom into action. He did so first in leading the Jesuits, later in the Diocese of Buenos Aires, and now in leading the Church as the Supreme Pontiff.”
The fact that he is the first Jesuit in history to be Pope and has chosen the name of Francis, “the name of the humble founder of the Franciscans,” describes perfectly the Holy Father’s personality, Cardinal Karlic said.
“I would even say that in his heart, St. Ignatius of Loyola – the founder of the Jesuits – was greatly inspired by St. Francis to care for the poor…because all of the saints wish to imitate other saints in many of their qualities,” the cardinal said.