Lismore Bishop embraces new Pope
By BREE PRICE
BISHOP of Lismore, Geoffrey Jarrett, is confident newly-elected Pope Benedict XVI will lead the Catholic Church in the tradition of the late John Paul II.
However, he said Catholics could expect a few 'pleasant surprises'.
"He will be the same in terms of his teachings because he's the one who has to continue the tradition, but he can give new insights into tradition and teachings," Bishop Jarrett said.
"Every pope is different. His approach to modern problems will be uniquely his own and he will emerge with a distinctive personality.
"That is why he didn't take the name of John Paul III, because it would be such a hard act to follow after 26 years of a remarkable Pope."
Bishop Jarrett said he had met Cardinal Ratzinger, who has taken the name of Pope Benedict XVI, several times during the past four years.
"I think he was one of the best qualified to be Pope. He worked closely with John Paul II since 1982 and he is very well versed in affairs of the church," he said.
"He is also a fine thinker with his background as a teacher of theology, and has a kind and gentle personality.
"He has a command of several languages and he has appeal with young people."
Bishop Jarrett said he and 35 young people from the Lismore Diocese would go to World Youth Day celebrations to be held, coincidently, in the new Pope's home country of Germany in August.
He said he expected Pope Benedict XVI to attend the celebrations and to meet with youth from around the world.
Bishop Jarrett said the group planned to leave on August 3.