“I would like to congratulate all Catholic Canadians on the election of Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio as His Holiness Pope Francis and give him, and all those under his pastoral care, my best wishes as he begins his new ministry of prayer and service.
“Following Pope Benedict XVI’s many years of wise and faithful devotion, Pope Francis inherits a great burden of pastoral responsibility for the spiritual welfare of Christians of many different traditions and nations.
“The Catholic Church in Canada reflects a rich diversity of cultures and traditions. As a cardinal from Buenos Aires, Argentina, and the first pope ever elected from Latin America, Francis himself represents this Catholic diversity.
“As Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said, ‘Canada and the Holy See share a commitment to the promotion of the dignity of the human person and to freedom of conscience and religion.’ As Christians and many other religious minorities around the world confront the growing threat of anti-religious persecution, Canada has established an Office of Religious Freedom to advance these universal values.
“I am confident that Catholic Canadians will benefit from Pope Francis’s leadership in humility, as well as the breadth of his knowledge and experience.”
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