News / Europe

Catholics, World Leaders Welcome New Pope

Faithful on St.Peter's Square cheer after white smoke rose from the chimney above the Sistine Chapel, indicating a new pope has been elected at the Vatican, March 13, 2013. White smoke rose from the Sistine Chapel and the bells of St. Peter's Basilica ran
Faithful on St.Peter's Square cheer after white smoke rose from the chimney above the Sistine Chapel, indicating a new pope has been elected at the Vatican, March 13, 2013. White smoke rose from the Sistine Chapel and the bells of St. Peter's Basilica ran
Lou Lorscheider
Throngs of flag waving Roman Catholic faithful packing St. Peter's Square roared approval Wednesday evening as Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio appeared on the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica as the new pope to the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.

The 76-year-old Bergoglio, who chose the papal name Francis, spoke in Italian as he thanked the vast audience for their welcome, and world leaders began issuing statements of warm wishes and congratulations.

"Brothers and sisters, good evening," the new pope intoned.  "As you know, the duty of the conclave is to give Rome a new bishop.  It seems that my brother cardinals went almost to the end of the world.  But we are here."

The choice of Bergoglio, who becomes the first Latin American pope, was announced by French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, with the words "I announce to you a great joy, we have a pope."

World Leaders React

Argentine President Cristina Kirchner issued a statement saying "we wish him, as he takes the reigns of the Church, a fruitful pastoral mission."  She cited the "tremendous responsibility on the shoulders [of Pope Francis to seek] justice, equality, brotherhood and peace among mankind."

U.S. President Barack Obama offered warm wishes to "the first pope from the Americas," calling Bergoglio "a champion of the poor and the most vulnerable among us."  In his statement, Obama also said the selection "speaks to the strength and vitality of a region that is increasingly shaping our world."

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he looked forward to cooperating with the Holy See under Pope Francis' "wise leadership."  European Union leaders Herman Van Rompuy and Jose Manuel Barroso wished the new pope "a long and blessed pontificate."

British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Francois Hollande also issued statements of praise and congratulations. Cameron called Wednesday "a momentous day" for the world's Roman Catholics.

Latin America Celebrates

Bells tolled and cities erupted in celebration across Latin America, with the jubilant faithful jamming streets from Buenos Aires to Caracas, Venezuela.  

At the St. Francis of Assisi church in the Puerto Rican capital, San Juan, the Associated Press said church secretary Antonia Veloz exchanged high-fives (celebratory hand slaps) with with Franciscan friar Jose Antonio Cruz.

"It is a huge gift for all of Latin America.  We waited 20 centuries.  It was worth the wait," said Cruz.

Francis becomes the world's 266th pontiff in the Church's 2000 year history.  He is the first non-European pope since Syrian-born Gregory III in the eighth century.

You May Like

China’s Influence Grows With New Infrastructure Bank

Multibillion-dollar China-backed and BRICS-supported Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank seen as possible challenger to such lenders as IMF, World Bank More

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

Rabbi Michel Serfaty makes the rounds in his friendship bus to encourage dialogue and break down barriers between the two groups More

Post-deal Iran Leaders Need 'Economic Momentum' to Solidify

Economists say deal could inject more than $100 billion into coffers - not enough to entirely rescue ailing economy - but maybe adequate to create 'economic momentum' More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impacti
X
Michael Bowman
June 28, 2015 10:05 PM
Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Chemical-Sniffing Technology Fights Australia's Graffiti Vandals

Cities and towns all over the world spend huge amounts of resources battling graffiti writers who deface buildings, public transport vehicles and even monuments. Authorities in Sydney, Australia, hope a new chemical-sniffing technology finally will stop vandals from scribbling on walls in the passenger areas of commuter trains. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Cambodia Struggling to Curb Child Labor

Earlier this year a United Nations report found 10 percent of Cambodian children aged 7-14 are working – one of the highest rates in the region – and said one in four children in that age bracket are forced to quit school to help their families. Although the child labor rate has dropped over the past decade, Cambodia has a lot more to do – including keeping more children in school. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.

VOA Blogs