Peru’s Political, Religious Leaders Congratulate New Pope

Peru’s political and religious leaders congratulated the election of  Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio, of Argentina, as the Catholic Church’s new leader, taking the name of Pope Francis.

President Ollanta Humala said that Bergoglio’s election will help bring “peace and social justice to the world,” state news agency Andina.

“I think that his appointment as the maximum authority of the Catholic Church should further unite the people of Latin America,” Humala said.

Bergoglio, 76, was elected by 114 other cardinals on Wednesday, following the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI at the end of February. He is the first non-European pope in 1,200 years and the first Latin American pope.  He is also the first Jesuit to become pope.

Bergoglio has a reputation for being a theological conservative, but also working closely with the poor and openly denouncing policies that marginalize the poor. Until this election, as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, he sold the archbishop’s mansion, lived in an apartment, cooked for himself and used public transport to get to work.

There are questions on his actions during the Dirty War in Argentina (1970s and 1980s of military rule when 30,000 people disappeared) but he said in 2010 that he had in fact hidden and protected many people who were in danger.

While the Argentine’s election was a surprise, there was talk that a Latin American cardinal could be considered for the position since the region has overtaken Europe as home to the world’s largest number of Catholics.

The archbishop of Lima, Juan Luis Cipriani, a cardinal who participated in the election, told Radio Programas on Thursday that “the first Latin American pope is truly a gift from God for the entire world.”

“For all of us in Latin America this requires greater responsibility,” Cipriani said. “The Church is… relying more on us Latin Americans.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *