CATHOLICS across Croydon have joined the millions around the world in celebrating the election of the new pope.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the archbishop of Buenos Aires, was elected on Wednesday evening. The 76-year-old is the first non-European pope since the middle ages.
He will take the name Francis, echoing that of St Francis of Assisi, the 12th century Italian friar who devoted himself to helping the poor.
Father Joe O' Connor, from the Church of Our Lady of the Annunciation, Addiscombe, said he seemed right for the job. He added: "He seems to be a very humble man living a simple lifestyle. People sometimes perhaps look on hierarchy as living totally separate from people and he does not appear to be that kind of person at all.
"I don't think that [his being from outside Europe] makes the slightest bit of difference; we have to get the man that people think is right for the job, and where he comes from is immaterial. The most important thing is that he listens to the people and he is faithful to the gospel."
Father Paddy Cannon, from St Dominic's Catholic Church in Waddon, said he was "absolutely delighted" with the choice of Pope Francis I. He added: "He is a wonderful man and very humble.
"He is from outside Europe, which is important as it shows the universality of the Catholic Church. He will bring us ever closer together and help us to serve the Lord."