World leaders react to selection of new Pope
World leaders have voiced their support for the new pontiff, Pope Francis, who was selected after a fifth vote by the conclave in Vatican City.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper praised the Pope for his “deep commitment to faith and humanity.” He also said that Pope Francis and Canada share common goals.
“Canada and the Holy See share a commitment to the promotion of the dignity of the human person and to freedom of conscience and religion. It is my sincere hope that Pope Francis’s faith, devotion and conviction will foster greater peace, understanding and tolerance among the peoples and religions of the world,” Harper said.
U.S. President Barack Obama called Francis “a champion of the poor” and noted his Latin American roots.
“As the first pope from the Americas, his selection also speaks to the strength and vitality of a region that is increasingly shaping our world, and alongside millions of Hispanic Americans, those of us in the United States share the joy of this historic day,” Obama said in a statement.
French President Francois Hollande extended his congratulations and wished the pontiff well as he faced the challenges of the “contemporary world.”
Ugandan Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi wrote on Twitter: “Congratulations to Pope Francis 1 and to all the 1.2 billion Catholics of the world! Africa will wait its turn.”
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop Justin Welby, the symbolic leader of the world’s Anglicans, noted the importance the pontiff plays for Christians everywhere.
“We have long since recognized -- and often reaffirmed -- that our churches hold a special place for one another. I look forward to meeting Pope Francis, and to walking and working together to build on the consistent legacy of our predecessors,” he said in a statement.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that together, the UN and Pope Francis share “the conviction that we can only resolve the interconnected challenges of today’s world through dialogue.”
On Twitter, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto greeted Pope Francis’ nomination with “respect” and “affection,” while noting his Latin American roots.
Meanwhile Argentinian President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner congratulated Pope Francis, a fellow Argentine, in an open letter on behalf of all their fellow countrymen.
In the letter she expressed to Pope Francis “my consideration and respect.”
She wrote: “It's our desire that you have ... a fruitful pastoral work, developing such great responsibilities in terms of justice, equality, fraternity and peace for humankind.”
In the past Fernandez and Francis often clashed, particularly on the issue of gay marriage, which Francis campaigned against. In 2010, Argentina became the first country in Latin America to legalize gay marriage.
On March 19, Fernandez will travel to the Vatican to attend the new Pope’s first Mass.
With files from The Associated Press