Pope Francis
5:48 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

Habemus Papam: St. Louis Reacts To News Of New Pope

The head of the Archdiocese of St. Louis says he is "delighted" with the selection of Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio as the new leader of the Roman Catholic Church.

White smoke from the Sistine Chapel  announced the selection of a new pope  just about 1 p.m. local time. Bergoglio's name was revealed about an hour later. Until today, he was the archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Archbishop Robert Carlson says Bergoglio's selection was a surprise. But he believes the new pope, who chose the name Francis, shares the characteristics of simplicity and peace embodied by St. Francis of Assisi.

For example, Carlson said, in Argentina, Pope Francis rode the bus to work every day.

"He lived in a very simple room, he didn't live in the bishop's mansion," Carlson said. "Those are outstanding characteristics for someone who has to serve the church in every corner of the world."

Asked about the new pope's adjustment to life in the more opulent setting of the Vatican, Carlson joked, "I hope he likes pasta."

In addition to  being the first pope from the Americas, Francis is also the first Jesuit elected to that office. 

The Very Rev. Doug Marcoullier, who is the leader of the Jesuits in Missouri and surrounding states, says members of his order generally do not seek roles of power. But he says Jesuits also take a vow to accept any mission they see as given to them by God, and that it's clear Pope Francis is humble enough to use his new powers to serve the poor.

"I wasn't able to see his introduction at [St. Peter's] Basilica, but I understand that he first asked the people in the plaza the pray for him," Marcoullier said. "I think that that is indicative of his style of ministry and leadership."

Neither Carlson nor Marcoullier has met the new pope.

Follow Rachel Lippmann on Twitter: @rlippmann