Pope Francis: the response from Argentina's press


An hour or so after white smoke first poured from a chimney on the roof of the Sistine chapel, Jorge Mario Bergoglio emerged in white papal robes on to the balcony of St Peter's to announce his election as Pope Francis. Those who had hoped for a leader of the Catholic church who would reflect the faith's growth outside of Europe got their wish - and celebrations continued into the night across Latin America. Here's a selection of the press response from Argentina this morning:

Carolina Barros, writing in the Buenos Aires Herald, says: "the fact that the shoes of the fisherman will now be worn by a Latin American heralds not only a new stage for the Catholic Church but a realignment within the world of this region housing over 40 percent of all Catholics."

Barros compares Pope Francis' nomination with the funeral of Hugo Chavez. The supporters of El Comandante are seeking to convert their leader into a "secular saint" in order to sustain his cult - perhaps, says Barros, "the advent of a Latin American in the Vatican may overshadow this cult of the Bolivarian leader."

La Nacion columnist Joaquin Morales Sola says Bergoglio went to Rome thinking he had no chance of being Pope. "Age works against me this time", the cardinal had told Sola before he left. He was, of course, wrong.

As Pope, this Argentine will take a hard line on paedophilia, predicts Sola. "Zero tolerance" was Bergoglio's watchword, and he came into conflict with Ratzinger on this before the latter was made Pope. Sola sums up Bergoglio thus: "never silent before what he considers an injustice, never afraid to speak truth against political and moral error."

Let's hope he called it right.