Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement after the Holy See confirmed that Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio had been chosen as the next Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church, the 265th successor of St. Peter:
“On behalf of the government and the people of Canada, I welcome the selection of His Holiness Pope Francis as the Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church.
"His Holiness will play a critical role as the leader of the Catholic Church as it faces the challenges of the 21st century. His experience and deep commitment to faith and humanity will serve him well.
“Canada and the Holy See share a commitment to the promotion of the dignity of the human person and to freedom of conscience and religion. It is my sincere hope that Pope Francis’s faith, devotion and conviction will foster greater peace, understanding and tolerance among the peoples and religions of the world.”