President Barack Obama called himself a "great admirer" of Pope Francis as he sat down at the Vatican Thursday.
CLEVELAND - Cleveland Bishop Richard Lennon and other area leaders react to the election of Pope Francis I
Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina was elected pope Wednesday and chose the name Francis, becoming the first pontiff from the Americas and the first from outside Europe in more than a millennium.
Read local reaction below from area leaders:
Cleveland Bishop Richard Lennon:
Thank God for our new Holy Father. The election of Pope Francis brings new leadership to the Catholic Faithful here in the Diocese of Cleveland and around the world. Francis is the new name chosen by Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Cardinal-Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina.
As Supreme Pastor of the Universal Church, we pray that his word and example inspire and guide the Church. I ask for the prayers of all people in the Diocese of Cleveland, Catholics as well as of our brothers and sisters of other religious convictions, that the Lord give our new shepherd a spirit of courage, right judgment, knowledge, and love.
I also pray that Pope Francis may be a champion of the poor, a reconciler of nations, and a force for peace and unity in our world.
U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio)
Pope Benedict XVI inspired us with his unwavering commitment to faith during, as he put it, "today's world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith."
The election of Pope Francis I is a jubilant occasion for millions of Catholics in Ohio and around the world, and I join them in welcoming this new faith leader.
"This is the church I want to give my life to and this is the man who is in charge of it. So very, very excited for this," said Eric Garris who is studying to be a priest.
"I cant believe we have a pope from our little country. It is awesome," Sister Marcela Machiccot said, who is orginally from Argentina.
Doris Donnelly, Professor of Theology and Religious Studies at John Carroll University
"He is the closest moderate we have to representing the global south with balance and with intelligence.
The pope chose the name Francis, a tribute to St. Francis of Assisi. Donnelly thinks Pope Francis will bring to the papacy many of those attributes.
"It conjures poverty, it conjures concern about the poor, it conjures concern about the marginalized, the oppressed. That name was chosen by a person who is so committed to those values."
Pope Francis' pared down papal wardrobe of sensible black shoes and a white cassock so thin you can see his black trousers.
New surveys commissioned by the Vatican show that the vast majority of Catholics in Germany and Switzerland reject church teaching on contraception, sexual morality, gay unions and divorce, findings remarkable both in their similarity and in the fact that they were even publicized.
Two white doves that were released by children standing alongside Pope Francis as a peace gesture have been attacked by other birds.
A document obtained by The Associated Press on Friday shows Pope Benedict XVI defrocked nearly 400 priests over just two years for molesting children.
Benedict XVI has returned to the Vatican for the first time since he resigned Feb. 28 and met with successor Pope Francis.
Pope Francis put his humility on display during his first day as pontiff Thursday, stopping by his hotel to pick up his luggage and pay the bill himself.
Cleveland Bishop Richard Lennon and other area leaders react to the election of Pope Francis I.
Latin Americans are reacting with joy to news of the first pope from the hemisphere, bursting into tears and cheers.
Pope Francis is the first ever from the Americas, an austere Jesuit intellectual who modernized Argentina's conservative Catholic church.