It was a choice that came as a surprise to the leader of Catholics in our region.
However, Bishop Michael Hoeppner says the selection of Cardinal Bergolio of Argentina was a wise one. The largest membership of the Catholic Church is now from Latin America, and the new Pope in fluent in 7 languages.
Bishop Michael Hoeppner: "One of the things mentioned about the new Pope is his background as a professor. That he's a Jesuit. They're known for education, for being educators and I think that's important."
Bishop Hoeppner says the election of a new pope captures the attention of Catholics and non-Catholics around the world. He says it signifies what is good and right with the world.
Bishop Michael Hoeppner: "The whole world pays attention. Sometimes out of curiosity, but more out of some kind of a realization that this is kind of important for the world. It's kind of a moment. It's a moment in world history."
Hoeppner says the new Pope will face challenges, that include cleaning up the administration of the Vatican. The new Pope will also have to deal with financial and sexual scandals.
Bishop Michael Hoeppner: "We're still talking about sexual abuse from years before. So, I hope and think we've made good progress in that. Again, the bureaucracy, the way the Vatican works in the governance piece… people keep saying that needs to be dressed up. So, maybe the new, Holy Father will have to do that."
Bishop Hoeppner says he was a classmate in Rome of three of the Cardinals, who were in the running and ultimately selected the new Pope.