SS MICHAEL and John's Catholic Church parish priest in Horsham Peter Hudson has welcomed the world's first Latin American Pope.
The Conclave elected Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio as the 266th Pope yesterday morning.
He has taken the papal name of Francis I.
Pope Benedict XVI announced his surprise resignation last month, listing deteriorating physical and mental strength as major reasons behind his decision.
He was the first Pope in 598 years to resign.
Fr Hudson said Latin America was the largest Catholic region in the world.
He said Pope Francis was a humble and faithful man.
"He cooks his own meals and he takes public transport," he said.
"He's very close to his people."
Fr Hudson said Pope Francis started his new reign by standing in front of people at St Peter's Basilica in Vatican City and asking them to pray for him in silence.
"He has a great sense of justice and compassion for people," he said.
Fr Hudson said the new Pope had a strong passion for the protection of family.
He had set up a council for divorcees in his diocese.
Fr Hudson quoted the Prayer of St Francis 'Make me a channel of your peace' in reference to Pope Francis.
"I think he will live out the real Prayer of St Francis," he said.
"He looks as if he's going to be a Pope who will protect the doctrine of the church."
Fr Hudson welcomed Pope Francis's leadership.
He said he could direct the church through difficult times.
"He knows how the church works," he said.
"He will bring his spiritual and humble leadership to the church."
Editorial page 18.