Argentina celebrates as their own Catholic leader is elected Pope Francis

 

Buenos Aires

They filled every pew of the squat cathedral here in the heart of Buenos Aires, devotion for their church and for their sometimes overlooked country brimming in their veins. At last a pastor in black cassock climbed to the pulpit. “Habemas Papam,” he intoned and they could no longer keep still, clapping and waving small flags.

In Buenos Aires it had been as evening rush hour was just stirring when word began to spread that their own Catholic leader, Jorge Bergoglio, had been chosen. For many in this city of high inflation, choking traffic and sometimes painful political memories, it seemed a blessing almost too unexpected to believe.

Among those who rushed here were students from the Argentina Catholic University. “It is about celebrating together,” said Bautista Gigena, 18, admitting he had cried at the news.  “We are so glad.”  Beside him, Juan Francisco, 19, grasps an Argentina soccer shirt and a rosary. The last, he reveals, had traveled all the way to Rome with his father where it was blessed by Pope Benedict

Each has attended mass with Bergoglio and there is no scintilla of doubt in their young eyes what kind of world spiritual leader he will be. A fine one. “He is really close to the people,” says Francisco, referring to his reputation for humble living – even as Archbishop he rode the bus here and eschewed the grandiose official residence for a small apartment. “He will be between John Paul and Benedict.  He will be a mix of the two,” he predicts.

As the pastor speaks inside, outside the crowd swells fast.  The atmosphere is not one of worship and nor quite of the soccer stadium either. But ebullient – and nationalistic – it is.  “Argentina, Argentina!” is the chant that ripples from the front at the edge of the throng at the Cathedral steps deep into the square, the Casa Rosada of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, a few hundred yards beyond.  Slowly song breaks out with verses everyone at once seems to know.  “Love, Love, to the New Pope!”

There are many reasons Argentina thinks this a miracle. As Archbishop, Bergoglio devoted energies to repairing a Church that for decades stood accused of having closed its eyes to the brutalities of the 1976-1983 dictatorship.  But the faithful here also see a church somewhat diminished in a society that may today be among the most secular of Latin America. Bergoglio and Ms Fernandez have fought frequently as she has moved the country towards gay marriage and allowing abortions after rape. “The church has been in retreat and this is why this is important,” says the young Bautista. “It has been due first to the government that has been fighting the charge and fighting religion.”

There is one more miracle. It is Argentina giving the world its first pope from the Americas and not Brazil, the bigger, richer neighbor, has some had expected. “Yes, that is good,” says Camilla Navarro, 18, with a guilty grin. “I would have been a little jealous. Argentinians are a proud and passionate people.” Never more so than today.

So what happens next for Pope Francis I?

Jerome Taylor: Pope Francis I is both a continuation of the past and something very different

The new Pope has a clear first priority: stop and prevent the sexual abuse of young boys

Pope Francis I: the humble man who moved out of archiepiscopal palace into a simple apartment

Life and Style
A nearly completed RoboThespian robot inside the Engineered Arts workshop is tested in Penryn, England. The Cornish company, operating from an industrial unit near Falmouth, is the world's only maker of commercially available life sized humanoid robots
techSuper-intelligent robots could decide destroying the human race is the kindest thing to do
News
The current recommendation from Britain's Chief Medical Officer, is that people refrain from drinking on at least two days a week
food + drinkTheory is that hangovers are caused by methanol poisoning
Life and Style
techConcept would see planes coated in layer of micro-sensors and able to sense wear and tear
News
Patrick Stewart in the classiest ice bucket to date
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
News
newsComedian Lee Hurst started trend with first tweet using the hashtag
News
scienceExcitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
News
newsRyan Crighton goes in search of the capo dei capi
Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
Extras
indybest

Arts and Entertainment
Actors front row from left, Jared Leto, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Ellen DeGeneres, Bradley Cooper, Peter Nyongío Jr., and, second row, from left, Channing Tatum, Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey, Brad Pitt, Lupita Nyongío and Angelina Jolie as they pose for a
film
Sport
sport
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Software Developer (Java /C# Programmer)- London

£30000 - £45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A global investment management fi...

Senior Network Engineer-(CCIE, CCNP, Cisco, London)

£65000 - £75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Network Engineer-(CCIE, CC...

Senior Network Analyst - (CCIE, Cisco, CISSP)

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Network Analyst - (CCIE, C...

Senior Network Engineer-(Design, Implementation, CCIE)

£60000 - £80000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Network Engineer-(Design, ...

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition