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Asian Catholics celebrate election of Pope Francis

Catholics across the Asia-Pacific celebrated Thursday the election of the first non-European pope in 1,300 years, hailing Argentina's Jorge Mario Bergoglio as a champion of the developing world. Any disappointment that Benedict XVI's successor was not Asian appeared to be largely offset by the new Pope Francis ending the European dominance, as well as his credentials as a humble man with a deep commitment to social reforms. However, there was a word of admonishment from a group supporting victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests in Australia.

Asia's 'humble' candidate for pope, Cardinal Tagle

Asia's best hope for the papacy, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of the Philippines, is a young, electric orator who has been outspoken about the need for Catholic Church leaders to be more open and humble. Born to a working-class couple in a then-rural town two hours' drive south of the Philippine capital, Tagle rose to become Archbishop of Manila in 2011 at the age of just 54. He was named a cardinal in November last year, becoming the official chief spiritual leader to the Philippines' more than 80 million Catholics.

Philippine papal bet wants people power for Church

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle wants to bring the Catholic Church closer to people, a vision his fans say comes from a genuine passion for helping the poor and one that could make him Asia's first pope. The 55-year-old cardinal from a working-class family close to the Philippine capital is being touted at home and abroad as a genuine chance to succeed Pope Benedict XVI during a historic Vatican vote next month.

Filipinos hoping Tagle will be next pope

Bishops and all Catholics in the Philippines are hoping that a Filipino will be the next pope, a senior church figure said Tuesday, as he promoted the credentials of the country's only candidate. Heads of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines held a press conference in which they expressed sadness at Monday's shock announcement by 85-year-old Pope Benedict XVI that he would resign because of health reasons.
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