The Courier, Houma, La., on the new pope:
With those Latin words, it was official. "We have a pope."
Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina won election as the Catholic Church's 266th leader but the first from Latin America.
In fact, he is the first pope in more than 1,000 years from outside of Europe.
As the spiritual leader of the world's more than 1 billion Catholics, Pope Francis will confront a number of challenges, perhaps the largest being the church's lingering abuse scandals.
But the 76-year-old former archbishop of Buenos Aires is known for his energetic, humble service to the church. He regularly used the public bus to travel to and from work, reportedly cooks his own meals and makes regular trips into Argentina's slums to minister to the poor.
The new pope was actually close to the papacy in 2005 when he finished second in the voting to Pope Benedict XVI, who recently announced his retirement. ...
While the pope is the official leader of the Catholic Church, that position allows him to take a leadership position in the world's religious and moral affairs.
He will certainly be challenged by the abuse scandals, but he has known challenges in his native Argentina. He was seen as instrumental in trying to restore credibility to the church that lost many of its followers during that nation's military dictatorship, which ended in 1983.
He has acknowledged the church's failure to fight the wrongs of that dictatorship and led an effort that ended in the church's apology in 2012.
The lessons of that episode will serve him as he reaches out to the world's Catholics and tries to restore the reputation of the world church. ...
Good luck on an important spiritual job that will lead the church of so many around the globe.