President Barack Obama is offering warm wishes to newly elected Pope Francis.
Obama says the selection of the first pope from the Americas speaks to the strength and vitality of the region. He says millions of Hispanic Americans join him in praying for the new pope.
Cardinals in Rome on Wednesday elected 76-year-old Jorge Bergoglio, who chose the papal name Francis. An Argentinian, Bergoglio is also the first from outside Europe in more than a millennium.
Obama says the pope serves as a champion of the poor and vulnerable and represents the love and compassion that has inspired the world throughout the Catholic Church's history.
He says he looks forward to working with the pope to promote peace, security and dignity for people of all faiths.
Accourding to the White House, Vice President Joe Biden will attend the new pope's installation. He is Catholic.
Here is President Obama's full statement:
"On behalf of the American people, Michelle and I offer our warm wishes to His Holiness Pope Francis as he ascends to the Chair of Saint Peter and begins his papacy. As a champion of the poor and the most vulnerable among us, he 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. As the first pope from the Americas, his selection also speaks to the strength and vitality of a region that is increasingly shaping our world, and alongside millions of Hispanic Americans, those of us in the United States share the joy of this historic day. Just as I appreciated our work with Pope Benedict XVI, I look forward to working with His Holiness to advance peace, security and dignity for our fellow human beings, regardless of their faith. We join with people around the world in offering our prayers for the Holy Father as he begins the sacred work of leading the Catholic Church in our modern world."
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