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Johannesburg - The appointment of Pope Francis Bergoglio of Argentina was welcomed by political parties on Thursday.
“The African National Congress welcomes the appointment of Pope Francis (Bergoglio) of Argentina as the 266th Pontiff of the Catholic church, who succeeds Pope Benedict XVI,” said ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu.
“The African National Congress believes that [the] Catholic Church, as the biggest church in the world, has enormous responsibility in the development of society as it applies to all churches and religious formations.”
He said the new pope, like his predecessors, would endeavour to promote societal peace and morality “within the context of accepted norms by the peoples of the world”.
“We congratulate the South African Catholic community for being part of this process, which resulted in a successful papal conclave.”
Pope Francis was appointed the new pope of the Roman Catholic Church on Wednesday after 85-year-old Pope Benedict XVI stepped down last month.
Pope Benedict stated that the reason for his decision was his declining health due to old age.
He became the first pope in more than 600 years to resign.
The National Freedom Party also welcomed the new pope's appointment.
“As the NFP we congratulate the Roman Catholic Church worldwide for the successful election of the new pope, and we wish the church all the best.
“We believe that the church will continue to play an important role on universal matters,” said NFP leader Zanele KaMagwaza-Msibi.