MEXICO CITY — The famous words uttered to announce that a leader of the Catholic Church has been chosen now have special resonance for Latin America, which had felt neglected by the Vatican and has finally produced the New World’s first pope.
‘‘ ‘Habemus papam.’ ‘WE have a pope,’ ’’ said Tom Quigley, former policy adviser on Latin American and Caribbean affairs at the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. ‘‘This will instill a sense of pride and happiness and will have a very positive effect.’’
The selection of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina as pope is already energizing the world’s most Catholic continent, which has been rapidly losing its faithful.
Many hope Pope Francis will bring a familiar cultural warmth, while pushing the church to address a divisive gap between rich and poor in the region. He is also seen as someone who could bridge Latin America’s left-right political split as a conservative devoted to fighting poverty.
But first, the papacy of Francis is being seen as an overdue acknowledgment of the home of 40 percent of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.
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