By Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput spoke with the press at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood about an hour after Pope Francis was revealed to the world as the new leader of the Roman Catholic Church.
“His election was a great surprise,” Chaput said. “I don’t think he was on anyone’s top three list probably.”
Archbishop Chaput says even though Pope Francis, the first Jesuit and first Latin American to be elected pontiff, is viewed by many as an unusual pick, he is excited and urges Catholics to rejoice.
“I think he is going to be a source of joy and enthusiasm and surprise for the world,” Chaput said.
The Archbishop says he met the Pope Francis 16 years ago at the Senate of the Americas where the two became friendly.
“He’s a gentle soul, very simple, committed to the poor and to a simple lifestyle himself as a Cardinal in Buenos Aires,” said Chaput. “He’s a holy man.”
Chaput says the then-Cardinal gave him a picture of the Blessed Mother that he keeps on his desk in Philadelphia. As for what he believes Pope Francis will do in the future — Chaput says the world must be patient.
“I think it’s really important to take his time, make good, positive, prudent judgments and not rush to solve problems that others tell him exist,” he said.
Chaput said he planned to write to Pope Francis, requesting that he come to Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families in 2015.