Reactions of Pope Francis at the 266th pontiff

“As a champion of the poor and the most vulnerable among us, (Pope Francis) carries forth the message of love and compassion that has inspired the world for more than 2,000 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.”

President Barack Obama

“I think obviously it’s a very important decision for the people in Latin America, but I also think it’s a very important decision for the Hispanic community wherever they could be found.”

Cincinnati Archbishop Dennis Schurr

“Thanks be to God for our new pope, Francis I. American Catholics rejoice over this news, and offer our prayers and blessings to His Holiness with confidence that he will fill the Chair of St. Peter with grace. Even more special is that our church will be led for the first time by a Holy Father from the Americas, marking a new milestone in the history of a faith that has endured for millennia. ”

House Speaker Rep. John Boehner, R-West Chester

“Jill and I want to offer our congratulations to His Holiness Pope Francis, and extend our prayers as he takes on this holy responsibility. The Catholic Church plays an essential role in my life and the lives of more than a billion people in America and around the world, not just in matters of our faith, but in pursuit of peace and human dignity for all faiths. I look forward to our work together in the coming years on many important issues.”

Vice President Joe Biden

“When I heard the news that a Jesuit brother of mine would be the next Pope I was completely stunned. As were many people, it seems, from whom I began to hear very quickly! But that surprise yielded quickly to a profound sense of gratitude. That the Holy Spirit should choose a man from the tradition of Ignatius Loyola to lead the Church, must be a deep consolation for anyone and everyone associated with any Jesuit ministry throughout the world.”

Father Michael J. Graham, S.J., president of Xavier University

“I thought he was wonderful in his acceptance. I thought that was just a very humble, beautiful gesture.”

Father Greg Konerman, of St. Mary’s Church in Urbana after Pope Francis asked the crowd to pray for him

“We’re excited that the cardinals chose a pope from Latin America who seems to have a strong concern for social justice and who is known for being a pastor of his people in the tradition of St. Francis of Assisi, whose name he chose.”

Darlene Tempelton, campus minister and religion department chairwoman at Springfield Catholic Central

“Papa, he’s Argentinian! He’s Argentinian!”

Flor Ortega, a junior at the University of Dayton and a native of Chihuahua, Mexico, as she talked to her father on her cell

“He needs to make sure that anyone that has been involved (in the priest sex abuse scandal), including Pope Benedict are held accountable … This is a person who is supposed to be next to God.”

LaDonna Glenn of Springfield

“No matter where he’s from (I hope) he can do good for the church.”

Ron Rigney of Springfield

“We hope that will give him the courage to shake things up and put the prevention of abuse and cover up first on his priority list.”

David Clohessy, founder of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP

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