Latin Americans joyful one of their own is pope

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The order set up missions here in the early 16th century, eventually founding the country’s first university in Cordoba.

Following Jesuit tradition, Cardinal Bergoglio started teaching at Buenos Aires’ El Salvador high school while still in college. After leaving his leadership post in 1979, he returned to San Miguel de Tucuman to serve as a teacher. He was known as a humble, hands-on parish priest.

He was appointed an auxiliary bishop of Buenos Aires in 1992, and Pope John Paul II picked Cardinal Bergoglio to lead the archdiocese of 182 parishes six years later.

Elevated in 2001, he impressed his flock in crisis-prone Argentina with his modest lifestyle. Cardinal Bergoglio declined to move to the episcopal palace and continued to live in a small apartment where he cooked his own meals. He rode public buses, visited Buenos Aires slums and professed his love for the San Lorenzo de Almagro soccer team.

His tenure also was touched with controversy. Cardinal Bergoglio frequently clashed with President Cristina Fernandez, most notably in 2011 when she succeeded in making Argentina the first Latin American country to legalize homosexual marriage, which he had opposed vocally.

Ms. Fernandez on Wednesday congratulated the new pope in a short letter, wishing him “fruitful pastoral work.”

This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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