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

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Before burial at overflowing cemeteries, unidentified dead being swapped for DNA, in case some day relatives come to learn their fate

    Russian Opposition Leader Sues Putin for Conflict of Interest

    Alexei Navalny tells VOA in exclusive interview why transfer of $2 billion from country’s wealth fund to company with ties to President Putin’s son-in-law triggered lawsuit

    Clinton, Sanders Fight for African American Votes

    Some African American lawmakers lining up to support Clinton in face of perceived surge by Sanders in race for Democratic nomination in presidential campaign

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Filli
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 11, 2016 8:01 PM
    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.