John Boehner To New Pope: “Congratulations”

The highest-ranking Catholic in Congress praises the choice.

Larry Downing / Reuters

WASHINGTON — House Speaker John Boehner, the highest-ranking Catholic in Congress, has a message for the new Pope.

“Congratulations,” Boehner said Wednesday during a previously scheduled news conference with reporters.

While Boehner and other House Republicans were in a closed meeting with President Barack Obama, the cardinals selected Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio as the next leader of the Catholic Church. Bergoglio will serve under the name Pope Francis.

Obama announced to Boehner and other House Republicans during the meeting that the next Pope had been chosen; Bergoglio, who hails from Argentina, was revealed as the next Pope shortly after the meeting ended.

“I’m happy that they were able to come to a choice as quickly as they did,” Boehner said. “I think that reaching out to beyond the traditional continent of our Church is another big step in the right direction for the Church.”

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