Everybody has a wish list: from the MP, to the Muslims, to China and Israel.
Further hopeful reactions to the elevation of the former archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, to Pope Francis continued Thursday, with the Russian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate–NFTU) saying it hoped for a strengthening of inter-faith ties.
“The fact that in Argentina he [Francis] was an ordinary for Catholics of the Eastern rite and, therefore, is well familiar with the Eastern Christianity makes us hope that the relations between the Catholic and Orthodox churches would be further developed,” said Dmitry Sizonenko, who is spokesman for the Moscow Patriarchate.
Since Soviet times, the Russian Orthodox Church has had troubled relations with the Catholic Church.
‘Better relations’ sought by Sunnis
Sunni Islam’s highest seat of learning, Al-Azhar, based in Cairo, said it hoped for “better relations” with the Vatican under Pope Francis.
In 2006, the former pope Benedict sparked fury across the Muslim world when he recounted an anecdote suggesting that the Muslim Prophet Muhammed had been a warmonger.
The foreign ministry of China, which has long had strained ties with the Vatican over who has ultimate authority over Chinese Catholics, said that it hoped Francis would take a “practical and flexible” attitude aimed at “improving” China-Vatican relations.
Israeli President Shimon Peres had congratulated Francis and invited him to visit the Holy Land “of Jews, Muslims, and Christians,” according to the German news agency DPA.