The Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, known henceforth as Pope Francis, has a reputation as a cleric who prefers the simple life. But as the leader of the Catholic Church, he’ll have to get used to whole a new level of media attention.
On Wednesday, the new pontiff’s name and face were splashed across newspapers around the world, from Italy to Argentina to South Africa. His ascension was unexpected; many pontiff pontificators were betting that an Italian insider would take over the papacy following the retirement of Pope Benedict XVI last month.
Instead Bergoglio, who hails from the Argentinian capital city of Buenos Aires, has become the first non-European pope in modern history. He is also the first Jesuit and the first to take the name Francis, after the famed ascetic St. Francis of Assisi.
Media around the world were quick to react to the news -- what follows is a roundup of online and print newspapers from various countries and continents that seized their opportunity to trumpet the news in front-page headlines.
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For Argentine Catholics, the news of a papal countryman came as a welcome surprise. The newspaper Crónica, which is based in the capital city of Buenos Aires, kept it simple with this front-page, front-and-center announcement: “Argentine Pope.” In Spanish, "papa" can mean both "pope" and "dad," which imbues the Catholic title with familial undertones.
The Daily Mail is a British media outfit known to sensationalize. They spiced up the Vatican news just a little with some dramatic language in the headline; the word “begs” here insinuates that Bergoglio’s entreaty for prayers was a sign of apprehension.
Editors at the Italian publication might be miffed that one of their own wasn’t chosen to lead the church. The newspaper La Stampa, headquartered in the northern city of Turin, chose to highlight Bergoglio’s roots halfway around the world. “The first non-European pontiff,” it says in the headline. The quotation here translates to “I come from the end of the world,” alluding to a joke Bergoglio made about how far the conclave had to look to find him.
The Argentine newspaper Clarín kept things simple and spare. That horn player in the corner is the only indication of celebration on this front page -- but then again, it’s always there. "Clarín" is Spanish for "bugle," after all. “The new pope is the Argentine Jorge Bergoglio, and he is called Francis I,” says the headline -- all you need to know, without the bells and whistles.
Another Argentine newspaper, Infobae, at least sprang for an elegant panorama. The scope of its headline is broad, too: “Jorge Bergoglio is the first pope from Latin America,” it says, in a reminder that Argentina isn’t the only geographical entity making history today.
The Mexican paper El Universal and its sports-related partner Central Deportiva found a way to capture the attention of sports fans, Catholic or not: Bergoglio is a fan of the football club San Lorenzo de Almagro! No surprise there -- that’s the Argentine team.
The Huffington Post was quick with a pretty good pun, only seconds after the new pope was announced. They were also quick to bring up the most controversial issues possible: gay marriage, abortion and secret kidnappings.
The Advocate, a California-based media outlet focused on gay rights issues, put Bergoglio on the front page to call him out. The editors here don’t expect much out of this history-making pontiff; Pope Francis -- like popes past -- opposes gay marriage and thinks homosexuality is a sin.
Leave it to the Vatican itself to come up with the most simple homepage tribute of all. “We have Pope Francis,” it says in Latin on its website.