The head of the Catholic church in Lancashire has hailed the new Pope as the “pope for the 21st century.”
Bishop Michael Campbell, the Bishop of Lancaster, said the appointment of Argentine Jorge Mario Bergoglio would be met with “great joy and delight” by Catholics in the county.
He replaces Pope Benedict who stepped down at the end of last month due to failing health.
The 76-year-old, who becomes Pope Francis I, was regarded as a surprise choice and is the first pope to be chosen from outside Europe for more than a millennium.
In a statement, Bishop Campbell said: “The election of Pope Francis I to the throne of St Peter shows the power of the Holy Spirit to renew and enliven the church.
“Coming from Argentina Pope Francis I is the first non-European pope in a thousand years.
“He is also the first member of the Society of Jesus, the first Jesuit, to be the successor of St. Peter.
Bishop Campbell added: “Pope Francis I is the pope for the 21st century who can show the harmony between faith and reason.”