Pope Francis was elected as the leader of the Roman Catholic Church today (13 March).
Argentinian Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, was chosen by the conclave of 115 cardinals as a successor to Benedict XVI.
Tens of thousands of faithful Catholics broke into cheers as the white smoke indicated the new pontiff had obtained the required two thirds majority, which happened in the fifth round of voting over two days.
Francis is still a conservative choice, but has taught the ‘importance of respecting gay individuals’.
However he strongly opposed same-sex marriage legislation introduced in 2010 by the Argentine government, calling it a ‘destructive attack on God’s plan’.
In a letter to the monasteries of Buenos Aires, he wrote: ‘Let’s not be naive, we’re not talking about a simple political battle; it is a destructive pretension against the plan of God.
‘We are not talking about a mere bill, but rather a machination of the Father of Lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.’
In the past, he has also called the adoption of gay couples child abuse, saying it was discrimination against children.
Pope Francis follows Benedict XVI, who in the past called gay people a ‘defection of human nature’ and a ‘threat to world peace.’