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Pope Francis: World leaders react to Bergoglio's election

March 13, 2013|By Laura J. Nelson

Minutes after Pope Francis began his first address to the world's 1.2 billion Catholics, world leaders took to Twitter and other websites to congratulate the 266th leader of the Roman Catholic Church.

Roman Catholic cardinals selected Argentine Jesuit Jorge Mario Bergoglio after five rounds of voting in the Sistine Chapel.

"I would like to thank you for your embrace," Francis said in his address from the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica. "My brother cardinals have chosen one who is from far away, but here I am."

FULL COVERAGE: Pope Francis elected

Many online congratulations were from the Spanish-speaking world. Francis, who had been the archbishop of Buenos Aires, spent his life teaching and leading in Latin America, which has the largest share of the world's Catholics. He is the first non-European pontiff in more than 1,200 years.

Bergoglio was known for modernizing the Argentine church, seen as one of the most conservative in Latin America.

He also stood out for his austerity. He never lived in the church mansion in Buenos Aires, preferring a simple bed in a downtown room heated by a small stove on frigid days. For years, he cooked his own meals and rode on public transportation.

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