The election of Pope Francis marks a new phase in the Catholic Church’s process of fully understanding, responding to and living out the teachings of the Second Vatican Council, says Cardinal Walter Kasper, who was part of the conclave that elected the new pope.

“From the first day of his pontificate, Pope Francis has given what I would call a prophetic interpretation of the council and has launched a new phase of its reception,” the cardinal said.

Cardinal Kasper, a theologian and retired president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, said Pope Francis continues to remind Catholics they are called to follow Christ, “who became poor for us,” and to remind them of the “poverty and apostolic simplicity of the church.”