Pope Francis I appears for the first time on the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican March 13. Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina was elected the 266th Roman Catholic pontiff.
CNS photo/Paul Haring
(Indianapolis, Ind.) – Like many of their counterparts around the world, Indiana Catholics are celebrating the selection of a new pope.
Archbishop of Indianapolis Joseph Tobin said he is surprised, but pleased that Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina was chosen to lead the Catholic Church.
“I think the election of somebody who’s from Latin America and not a European, is a reminder of what Catholic means. Catholic, in its original sense, the Greek word means ‘universal,’” Tobin said in reaction to Wednesday’s news out of the Vatican.
The 266th pope is the first non-European to be selected in nearly 1,300 years. Cardinals from across the globe made their selection much faster than many experts had thought, taking just five votes in conclave in less than two days to find a successor to now Bishop of Rome Emeritus Benedict.
Bergoglio, 76, took the name Pope Francis, after Saint Francis of Assisi. Tobin draws a parallel in what the saint was told by the Lord 800 years ago.
“Christ said ‘Francis, rebuild my church.’ And he realized the particular mission that Francis and his followers would have would be to be a life-giving source within the church,” Tobin said.
Tobin has previously met the new pope. The archbishop sat next to Bergoglio at a Senate of Bishops in 2005 and found him to be a man of great simplicity.
Tobin will meet the Pope in June when he travels to Rome.
The Archdiocese of Indianapolis is comprised of 147 parishes, 71 schools, six Catholic Charities agencies and many offices of ministry across central and southern Indiana, including those in southeast Indiana.