Diocese of Little Rock reacts to election of Pope Francis - KATV - Breaking News, Weather and Razorback Sports

Diocese of Little Rock reacts to election of Pope Francis

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It was a moment Catholics across the world had been eagerly awaiting. The newly elected pope appearing on the balcony above St. Peter's square Wednesday afternoon.

Argentina's Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio will take the name Pope Francis. Despite being 76-years-old, he was able to impress the cardinal electors

"Broggolio stood up and spoke strongly and clearly about some of the problems that these cardinals were talking about.. and I have the sense that this is not man who is passed his prime.. this is a man who could really come in and make the changes that needed to be made," said Father James Martin, ABC News Papal Contributor.

Bishop Anthony B. Taylor of the Diocese of Little Rock released the following statement Wednesday.

"I take special pride in the election of the first pope from the Americas and am inspired by his personal humility and his commitment to social justice. Many details in Pope Francis' personal history resonate with that of Catholics in Arkansas. His parents were immigrants (Argentina is a nation of immigrants like the United States) and so I rejoice in the election to the papacy of the first son of immigrants in modern history. Moreover, he is a Hispanic Catholic from the Americas, and Hispanics constitute the largest group of Catholics in the United States – 55 percent of Arkansas Catholics.

"I can see already the working of the Holy Spirit in choosing a man well suited to lead the Church amid the challenges we face today. His years working with the congregations (offices) in the Vatican will help him address problems that have emerged recently in the curia. His clear teaching on the right to life from conception to natural death, on the inadmissibility of homosexual marriage and on the imperative to protect the vulnerable from all forms of abuse will enable him to give clear leadership in these and other issues we face today. And as the first pope from the Third World and the southern hemisphere, he will bring special sensitivity to the challenges faced by the Church in these regions in which two-thirds of Catholics live worldwide. 

"I rejoice in the election of Pope Francis and I pledge to him my prayer and support and that of the Catholics of Arkansas."