UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon joined the world leaders to congratulate Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, who has been chosen as the new Pope to head the Catholic Church.
US President Barack Obama has termed the selection of Pope Francis I, the first Pope to be elected from the Americas, a historic day that signifies growing strength and vitality of the region.
“As a champion of the poor and most vulnerable among us, he (Pope) carries forth the message of love and compassion that has inspired the world for more than two thousand years– that in each other we see the face of God,” Obama said in his congratulatory message.
US Vice President Joe Biden would be travelling to Rome to represent the US at the inaugural mass. “I am happy to have the chance to personally relay my well wishes, and those of the American people, when I travel to Rome for his Inaugural Mass,” he said.
Secretary of State John Kerry also congratulated the new Pope, and said the US will work closely with the Holy See to advance their shared belief in peace and humanity.
Bergoglio, who will be known as Pope Francis, was chosen on Wednesday as the first ever Pope from the Americas and the first from outside Europe in more than a millennium.
“We share many common goals – from the promotion of peace, social justice and human rights, to the eradication of poverty and hunger – all core elements of sustainable development,” Ban said in a statement.
He expressed hope that the new Pope will continue to build on the legacy of his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI in promoting inter-faith dialogue, “which is at the heart of the Alliance of Civilizations’ initiative,” Ban said.
In a statement, UN High-Representative for the Alliance of Civilisations, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser said selection of Bergoglio, is a reflection of the strength of Latin America, a region with a rich heritage and a well-recognized legacy around the globe.