Pope’s Election Sparks Ecstasy in His Argentina Homeland
Last night 76-year-old Jorge Mario Bergoglio succeeded Benedict XVI who quit of old age at 85, as Pope of the Roman Catholic Church.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio now Francis I had been set to retire as an archbishop due to his age. He was hailed around the world after becoming the first non-European to lead the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics for more than 1,000 years.
In his first translated address, Francis who speaks Spanish, Italian and German but not English said: “You know that the duty of the conclave was to give a bishop to Rome. It seems my brother cardinals went almost to the end of the world to get him. But here we are.”
Tens of thousands had waited all day in heavy rain for the decision at St Peter’s Square in Rome.
He told the crowd: “Let us begin this journey together, this journey for the Roman Catholic Church. It’s a journey of friendship and love and faith between us. Let us pray for one another, let us pray for the entire world.”
As Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, he had finished second when Pope Benedict XVI, who retired last month, was chosen in 2005. But he was a 20/1 long-shot this time round.
Experts saw the move as a gesture to South America, home to 42 per cent of the world’s Catholics.
President Obama, in congratulating Francis, called him “a champion of the poor and the most vulnerable among us.”
Francis, the 266th pontiff and the first Jesuit was born the son of a railway worker and became a priest at 32, nearly a decade after losing a lung to respiratory illness.