Argentinians exploded with joy on the streets of Buenos Aires when they discovered the new pope was one of their own.
No longer Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis’ new home will be in Rome, yet he was cheered like a football star. His return ticket will remain unused, and someone else will have to lead the Sunday mass he had planned to lead in the capital.
“We wish him, we wish from our hearts to Francis, that he may be able to achieve a higher level of brotherhood among different people and different religions,” said President Cristina Kirchner, often at loggerheads with her cardinal in the past, but who was generous with her praise.
“This is really a great happiness, not just for me but for the entire church, because we have a new pope that God has given us …. I’m very happy that he is Argentine,” said one young woman.
The nation swelled with pride that the first Latin American pope was Argentinian, no doubt aware that their great rival Brazil had a cardinal who had been one of the favourites.