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 Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid