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by Humphrey Carter

I T looks very exciting, new Pope Francis appears to be breaking with protocol and making it clear from the moment he was chosen that he was going to adopt a different, more open approach to his new job as head of the Catholic Church which, unlike the Anglican Church, is growing round the world, particularly in South America from where he hails.

Yesterday, at his inaugural Mass, with some 200'000 packing St. Peter's Square there were also a host of political leaders and politicians from all over the world eager to wish him well. Last week, the Catholic Church may have thought they had elected someone with “safe hands”. An American would have upset the Muslim world, an African, as I have been told by a number of Catholics, would have divided the Catholic Church.

But, Francis has already had his first taste of the diplomatic challenges of the papacy when Argentinian President Cristina Fernandez, the first political leader to arrive in The Vatican, asked him to support Buenos Aires in a dispute with Britain over the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic.

And yesterday, President Mugabe, who has been under a European Union travel ban since 2002 because of allegations of vote rigging and human rights abuses, popped up at the ceremony.

He was able to travel to The Vatican because it is a separate territory, outside the EU.
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