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The Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs received many notes of support for Pope Francis from our friends - fellow Christians and interreligious dialogue partners of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. We include their messages and links to the full texts, where possible, below.
"We congratulate Pope Francis ...There is much in his record that reassures us about the future. Cardinal Bergoglio maintained a close relationship with the Jewish community in Argentina. He celebrated various Jewish holidays with the Argentinian Jewish community, including Chanukah where he lit a candle on the menorah, attended a Buenos Aires synagogue for Slichot, a pre-Rosh Hashana service, the Jewish New Year, as well as a commemoration of Kristallnacht, the wave of violent Nazi attacks against Jews before World War II. He expressed strong solidarity with Argentina’s Jewish community following the deadly 1994 bombing of a Buenos Aires Jewish community center. "
Rabbi Abraham H. Foxman
National Director Anti-Defamation League
"As brothers and sisters in interreligious understanding, your friends at AJC extend congratulations to Pope Francis and the Catholic Church at this auspicious moment of papal transition... Our gratitude and prayers are with the Pope Emeritus, who built upon the monumental achievements of Pope John Paul II in the fruitful arena of Catholic-Jewish relations, solidifying the strong foundation of the Second Vatican Council's Nostra Aetate. Our hopes and aspirations are with Pope Francis, who, no doubt, will sustain and expand the positive trajectory of Catholic-Jewish relations."Rabbi Noam E. Marans
Director of Interreligious Relations for the American Jewish Committee (AJC)
"Mazal Tov and my sincerest congratulations on the election of His Holiness Pope Francis! I am optimistic that Pope Francis will be as good a friend to the Jewish community world-wide as he has been to the Jews of Argentina – and as you have with the Jewish community in America."Rabbi Burton L. Visotzky
Milstein Center for Interreligious Dialogue Jewish Theological Seminary
"Our prayerful felicitations to the new Pope and to the Catholic world. We hold His Holiness Pope Francis in prayers and look forward to his stewardship of the Catholic Church, and to his contribution to the world towards a path of 'love and fraternity' as he puts it. The World Sikh Council - American Region looks forward to a continuing friendship and dialogue with our Catholic brothers and sisters."Dr. Satpal Singh
Chairperson of the World SIkh Council - America Region
"We wish him all the best. We hope and pray that he will continue building bridges of understanding among Catholics and Muslims and among the people of all faiths."Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi
Chairman of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California
"In these days of religious conflict in far too many places, we reach out to the Church, and to Pope Francis, with open hearts, friendship and a desire to live and work together as fellow servants of God. We pray for Pope Francis' long life and strong health. We pray that his papacy will be a time of rekindled faith and cooperation among all people of faith throughout the world. And, we pray that the Church, under his direction, will continue on the path of dialogue and building coalitions among all those who humbly seek God's mercy and shelter as the ultimate goal of life."Anuttama Dasa
Vice Chair of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON)
"I rejoice with you and all my Catholic brothers and sisters on the election of a new pope! Prayers ascending for him and for the work of our churches in witnessing to what it means to be the body of Christ."Pastor Susan Beck
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
"I am very happy at the name Cardinal Bergoglio chose: that of Saint Francis. This name signifies a desire for service and compassion that even President Obama recognized, when he congratulated the new pope as a 'champion of the poor.' Yet as important as Cardinal Bergoglio's heart for the downtrodden may be, much more important is his new task of steering the Catholic Church back to the original teachings of Jesus ... He will certainly be in my prayers."Johann Christoph Arnold
Senior Minister of the Bruderhof Community
"In the joy and jubilation of Your election as the pastoral leader of Roman Catholic Christians throughout the world, we are communicating with Your Holiness in order to express to You and the devout faithful of Your blessed Church our wholehearted congratulations and sincerest salutations on this special day ... May God grant Your Holiness many years of healthy and fruitful ministry to serve His people with Your distinctive humility, simplicity, and charity."
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew
Archbishop of Constantinople
Read the original letter
"It is with joy that I convey to You the congratulations of the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America on the occasion of Your election as Pope. You enter Your ministry at a time of many challenges to the Christian faith and the Christian vision of life ...Your example as Archbishop of Buenos Aires has told the world that Your commitment is to the Gospel of Christ, its truth and its love. Your witness during Your first steps as Pope confirms this commitment strongly and without reservation. We pray for Your Holiness, for Your ministry and mission."
His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon
Primate of the Orthodox Church in America
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"Under your predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, the relationships between our churches received a new momentum and were characterized by a positive dynamism. I sincerely hope that Your Holiness would promote co-operation between our two churches in the spirit of brotherly love and mutual understanding...Orthodox and Catholics should be determined to combine their efforts to protect harassed and persecuted Christians in various parts of the world, as these people need our support and aid. We need to labour together for the affirmation of traditional moral values in modern secular societies."
His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia
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"We fondly remember our meetings and prayers together with Your Holiness in Argentina, during which we came to know you as a good shepherd, and a courageous, wise, and just Church Leader. We are happy to avow Your sincere love and affection shown towards the Armenian people...It is our prayer that our cooperative efforts will continue to grow into the future and that the relations between our two sister Churches will blossom with new achievements for the sake of meeting the challenges facing humanity, and in promoting and fortifying the dialogue and solidarity between nations and religions."
His Holiness Karekin II
Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians
"We are convinced that the genuine moral values, based on the bi-millenary Christian faith, will continue to be central in your activity as the Primate of the Roman Catholic Church, taking into account the work that Your Holiness has already undertaken during your pastoral activity in Argentina. This mission is also a priority in our Orthodox Church. Therefore, in this context, it is very necessary to cooperate in order to realise solidarity with those who suffer most from the economical and spiritual crisis of contemporary world, in order to give a common witness to the world, in the spirit of the merciful love of our Lord Jesus Christ."
His Beatitude Daniel
Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church
"I look forward to meeting Pope Francis, and to walking and working together to build on the consistent legacy of our predecessors. May the love of Christ unite us, and intensify our service in a genuine and fruitful ecumenism that can be a blessing for the Body of Christ throughout the world. Pope Francis is well known as a compassionate pastor of real stature who has served the poor in Latin America, and whose simplicity and holiness of life is remarkable. He is an evangelist, sharing the love of Christ which he himself knows."Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby
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"We write to offer to you our best wishes and commitment of prayer as you answer the call of the Church—through the voice of the Cardinals—to lead the Roman Catholic Church ... As the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), we have been committed to seeking the unity of the church and the reconciliation of the Christian family. Most recently, we entered into an historic agreement with the Unites States Conference of Catholic Bishops to mutually recognize our churches' baptisms. We are mindful that it is our baptism into Christ that serves as the foundation of our quest for Christian unity."
Stated Clerk of the General Assembly, Presbyterian Church U.S.A.
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"Please accept our congratulations on becoming the 266th Bishop of Rome and head of the Roman Catholic Church. As you take up the burden of responsibility, we signal to you that we hope to develop the friendly relations and constructive dialogue that were established under your predecessor, H.H. Pope Benedict XVI...We hope these relations will continue to improve and lead to increased and sincere friendship and harmony between Muslim and Christian communities throughout the world, which constitute the two largest religions on earth comprising together some 55% of the world’s population."
H.R.H. Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad,
Chief Advisor to H.M. King Abdullah II for Religious and Cultural Affairs,
and Personal Envoy of H.M. the King,
Chairman of the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought.
Read the full Letter from A Common Word to His Holiness Pope Francis
“May I offer you my greetings and sense of joy on your historic election as the Pope. Although I am not very familiar with many Catholic saints, I do know about St Francis, having visited Assisi and attended inter-religious gatherings there. His discipline, the simplicity of his way of life and his love for all creatures are qualities that I find deeply inspiring. I am moved to know that his is the name you have chosen for your papacy ... I am very pleased to have met and enjoyed friendly conversations with your immediate predecessors and, for the last forty years or so, have participated in fruitful exchanges with my Christian brothers and sisters. I hope that I may have the honour of calling on you too sometime in the near future.”
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet
"Dear Pope Francis, We received the news of your election this evening with joy...We are touched by your humility. The name you have chosen is a sign for us that attention to the plight of the poor and justice for all people will be important for you...We would like to see your Papal tenure as an era of commitment to furthering how our churches live out the gift of Christian unity that we have received from the Lord."Setri Nyomi
General Secretary of the World Communion of Reformed Churches
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