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Pope Francis congratulated byArgentina's Cristina Fernandez

The Catholic Church entered a new era on Wednesday (March 13) as 115 cardinals elected the first Latin American pope. Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, age 76, was chosen after a two-day long conclave. He will be the first non-European pope in 1,300 years. After Pope Benedict's surprise resignation last month, many speculated that the Church would look beyond Europe in efforts to refresh its image which has been plagued by sex abuse scandals, bureaucratic infighting, financial difficulties and the rise of secularism. Many Latin Americans were hoping that this year could mark an opportunity to break Europe's grip on the papacy. Bergoglio was born in Buenos Aires on December 17, 1936, and was one of five children in middle class family. A respiratory illness, which he suffered during his youth, left him with only one lung. Having studied chemical engineering, Bergoglio entered the seminary in the Villa Devoto neighbourhood of his native city. In 1958 he jo

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