Catholic Church
2:30 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

Boise Diocese Confident New Pope Can Guide The Church

St. Peter's Square
St. Peter's Square
Credit ell brown / Flickr

Argentine Jorge Bergoglio has been elected pope, the first ever from the Americas and the first from outside Europe in more than a millennium. He chose the name Pope Francis.

After announcing "Habemus Papum" — "We have a pope!" — a cardinal standing on the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica on Wednesday revealed the identity of the new pontiff, using his Latin name.

Bergoglio had reportedly finished second in the 2005 conclave that produced Benedict XVI — who last month became the first pope to resign in 600 years.

The 76-year-old archbishop of Buenos Aires has spent nearly his entire career at home in Argentina, overseeing churches and shoe-leather priests.

Here’s a statement from Bishop Michael P. Driscoll of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Boise on the election of Pope Francis:

“As with other Catholics around the world, I am pleased to offer my support and prayers for our new pope, Pope Francis.  I have never personally met him, but it is clear he has the prayerful and spiritual gifts to lead the Catholic church in the world today.  I am grateful that the College of Cardinals gathered in conclave listened to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

I am confident Pope Francis will work to guide the church through the new evangelization and make us stronger witnesses of Christ to the world.  I ask all Catholics in Idaho to pray for our new leader as “the servant of the servants of God” and successor to St. Peter.”

Pope Francis has been known for years as a humble man who denied himself the luxuries that previous Buenos Aires cardinals enjoyed.

The 76-year-old often rode the bus to work, cooked his own meals and regularly visited the slums that ring Argentina's capital. He considers social outreach, rather than doctrinal battles, to be the essential business of the church.

He has in the past accused fellow church leaders of hypocrisy and forgetting that Jesus Christ bathed lepers and ate with prostitutes.

In his first appearance in St. Peter's Square as the new pope Wednesday, Francis wore a simple white robe.

Copyright 2013 Boise State Public Radio