New Pope will give Catholic Church 'joy and confidence'

Pope Francis waves to the crowd from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica at the VaticanAP

The President of the Bishops' Conference of Scotland has spoken of his joy at news of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio's election as Pope.

Pope Francis was chosen on the fifth round of votes by the 115 cardinals meeting in the Sistine Chapel in Rome.

The 76-year-old Argentinian is the first Latin American and first Jesuit to become Pope. He succeeds Benedict XVI who stepped down last month.

Reacting to the announcement, the Archbishop of Glasgow Philip Tartaglia, said he was "surprised that the conclave was so quick" given the absence of a single dominant figure at the start of the conclave.

"I can only see this quick result as God's work. As soon as I heard I went into my chapel and offered a grateful and joyful prayer of thanksgiving," he said.

"He is a man of firsts. The first Latin American. The first Jesuit. The first Pope Francis. I think we can take from his first appearance that he is a humble, spiritual and calm man. A reconciler and healer, with a strong background on social justice.

"His name reminds us of the little saint of Assisi. A simple man who was the poor servant of Jesus and who was given the message 'rebuild my church'. It is a very significant message for our time. He may also have in mind St Francis Xavier the great missionary and a reminder of the need for a new evangelisation.

The Archbishop concluded: "We missed having a Pope. Catholics feel the need for Peter. We now have Peter back. The new Pope will give us joy and confidence."

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