WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama is offering warm wishes to newly elected Pope Francis.
Obama says the selection of the first pope from the Americas speaks to the strength and vitality of the region. He says millions of Hispanic Americans join him in praying for the new pope.
Cardinals in Rome on Wednesday elected 76-year-old Jorge Bergoglio, who chose the papal name Francis. An Argentinian, Bergoglio is also the first from outside Europe in more than a millennium.
Obama says the pope serves as a champion of the poor and vulnerable and represents the love and compassion that has inspired the world throughout the Catholic Church's history.
He says he looks forward to working with the pope to promote peace, security and dignity for people of all faiths.
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