Asian Catholics celebrate election of Pope Francis
MANILA (AFP) - Catholics across the Asia-Pacific celebrated on 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.
Philippine President Benigno Aquino, who leads Asia's biggest Catholic country but who has challenged the Church over its opposition to contraception, offered warm praise for the 76-year-old new pontiff.