Media welcome 'fresh' choice for Pope

Pope Francis speaks from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Wednesday, 13 March 2013
Image caption The selection of an Argentine surprised many

The world's media overwhelmingly greet the new Pope enthusiastically.

Commentators welcome the choice of a non-European and Jesuit as a breath of fresh air, showing that the Catholic Church is able to change.

Many also praise the new Pope's reputation for simplicity and hope he will promote social justice.

Headline in Argentina's La Nacion

"Francisco: the Pope who arrived from the end of the earth"

Headline in Argentina's La Razon

"An Argentinian in the name of God"

Santiago del Carril in Buenos Aires Herald

Argentines were in complete disbelief yesterday after the Vatican announced the election of the first ever Latin American pope, the Argentine Jesuit Jorge Mario Bergoglio. Church bells immediately began to throng throughout the whole country. People gathered in several churches, crying with elation, absolutely thrilled by the news. In a country whose majority of inhabitants are Roman Catholic, people could be seen praying in the streets and chanting "Argentina, Argentina".

Editorial in Argentina's La Nacion

Francis' arrival on the throne of St Peter is a historic event not only for Argentina, but also for [Latin] America, which holds the world's largest number of Catholic faithful. This fact, added to the fact that the future pontiff is a Jesuit, is generating hope of a more committed and modern church.

Editorial in Brazil's Folha de Sao Paulo

Apart from being a surprise, the election of Francis carries evident symbolism…the church is breathing new life into the epithet "catholic" - that is, universal.

Headline in Venezuela's El Nacional

"Francis, a pope critical of power"

Luigi Accattoli in Italy's Corriere Della Sera

The papacy leaves Europe and goes to the Americas. It is an event which speaks of the capacity for the new that lives in the ancient heart of the Church of Rome and puts it once more on the front-stage of history.

Ezio Mauro in Italy's La Repubblica

A surprise Pope, come from the ends of the earth, almost as if to say "enough" to the Italian intrigues and blackmails of the Curia and to the paralysis of government that weakened the papacy of Benedict XVI.

Editorial in leading Italian Catholic weekly Famiglia Cristiana

He surprised everyone, he surprised the world, but it was a surprise of joy. His simplicity has already won us over. This mild-mannered and paternal Jesuit won over the crowd in St Peter's Square. He chose the name of Francis, the saint of joy, of simplicity, of poverty, dialogue and peace.

Daniel Deckers in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

By electing Jorge Bergoglio, [the cardinals] signalled a fresh beginning. For he is the first non-European since antiquity, the first Latin American ever, and the first member of the Jesuit order on the throne of the bishop of Rome. Bergoglio himself immediately responded to this signal and chose a name that marks a fresh start in papal history: Francis.

Heribert Prantl in Germany's Sueddeutsche Zeitung

He is a Pope from the New World, and is considered to be someone who stands for social justice - a Pope for the poor... The popes since John XXIII have toured the world while hiding from the world and the needs of the faithful in a bunker. That is why great expectations await Francis I: that he will leave the bunker and do what is important for the transition - build bridges to humanity.

Matthias Kamann in Germany's Die Welt

For the first time there is a pope who is not from Europe! The conclave has made a highly symbolic step out of the Old Continent and into Latin America's strong Catholicism. And the fact that the Jesuit Jorge Mario Bergoglio is taking the name Francis I - reminding us of the saint of poverty and the poor, of humility as well as church reform - is also very meaningful: the Pope is anchoring himself among the faithful, and not in the traditional hierarchy.

Jean-Marie Guenois on France's Le Figaro website

A simple, accessible papacy. But this still remains a challenge, because a new style is yet to be invented.

Michael W. Higgins in Canada's Globe and Mail

He will change the papacy by changing the tone; there will be no radical departures from doctrine, polity and convention. But he will bring a breath of fresh air to the stale and scandal-drenched corridors of the Vatican… Francis could move the institution by sheer dint of his personal preference for evangelical simplicity.

Conservative Iranian Fars news agency

Many people were expecting that the "white smoke" would appoint a European figure to the pope's vacant seat in the Vatican, but finally it became clear that with the departure of Benedict XVI, the chances of a European becoming the pope was also gone… [Francis I is] considered a defender of natural reproduction and an opponent of abortion; his primary work in discouraging the use of contraceptives is in his religious record.

Iranian English-language Press TV

Cardinals finally overcome their deep divisions to elect… the first non-European leader of the Vatican.

Radio editor-in-chief Konstantin von Eggert in Russia's Kommersant FM

This is a historic day. This is the Catholic Church turning its face outwards towards a trend that has been progressing over the last several decades: the number of Catholics is not growing in Europe, where Catholicism is going through a crisis, but in Latin America, Africa. This choice shows what will be the focus of the Catholic Church. The new pope is a Jesuit. This is also a very significant moment. The Jesuit order has long since not been all that reverent about the Pope's authority.

English-language Philippine Daily Inquirer

Reforms in Vatican bureaucracy loom under Pope Francis.

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