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
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid