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Syracuse Bishop Hails Selection Of Pope Francis

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Bishop Robert Cunningham of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse says the selection of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina to be pope is a “wonderful gift to the church.”

Cunningham was in the middle of a meeting Wednesday afternoon when word came that a new pope had been chosen. Cunningham and others then waited until Pope Francis made his first appearance before an enthusiastic crowd gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

Speaking on WNBF Radio’s Binghamton Now program, Cunningham noted the new pope is the first from outside Europe in more than 1,000 years. He said his “biggest surprise” was that the cardinals’ choice “moved out of Europe.”

Cunningham said Pope Francis is viewed as a good pastor and is expected to be a good administrator.

The Syracuse bishop said he doesn’t know when he may have an opportunity to meet the new pope. He said he has no current plans to visit Rome.

It’s also unclear when Pope Francis may consider a trip to the United States.

Cunningham said it’ll take the pope “a little while to get used to his new life.” He said it could turn out the pope’s first overseas trip might be to Brazil for the World Youth Day this summer.

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