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Latin America "Overjoyed" by new Pope

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Mar 13, 2013 at 3:00 pm

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Argentine Jorge Bergoglio has been elected pope, the first ever from the Americas and the first from outside Europe in more than a millennium. He chose the name Pope Francis.

After announcing "Habemus Papum" — "We have a pope!" — a cardinal standing on the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica on Wednesday revealed the identity of the new pontiff, using his Latin name. Bergoglio had reportedly finished second in the 2005 conclave that produced Benedict XVI — who last month became the first pope to resign in 600 years.

The 76-year-old archbishop of Buenos Aires has spent nearly his entire career at home in Argentina, overseeing churches and shoe-leather priests.

The archbishop of Buenos Aires reportedly got the second-most votes after Joseph Ratzinger in the 2005 papal election, and he has long specialized in the kind of pastoral work that some say is an essential skill for the next pope.

In a lifetime of teaching and leading priests in Latin America, which has the largest share of the world's Catholics, Bergoglio has shown a keen political sensibility as well as the kind of self-effacing humility that fellow cardinals value highly.

Bergoglio is known for modernizing an Argentine church that had been among the most conservative in Latin America.


Latin Americans are reacting with joy to news of the first pope from their hemisphere. Near the cathedral in Argentina's capital, Martha Ruiz burst into tears of emotion at news that her cardinal Mario Bergoglio has been named pope.

She says the news "is incredible."

Bergoglio has taken the name Francis I. At the St. Francis of Assisi church in the colonial Old San Juan district in Puerto Rico, church secretary Antonia Veloz exchanged jubilant high-fives with the priest.

Abby Faulkner

Posted By Abby Faulkner

Assistant News Director

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