Francis, First Latin American Pope: Why It's Significant

Univision's Maria Salinas talks about how the Hispanic world is reacting to the news.
3:00 | 03/13/13

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Transcript for Francis, First Latin American Pope: Why It's Significant
Back in Argentina as we said he -- simply. Humbling but now will hold one of the most powerful offices in the world unlike his predecessor Benedict the sixteenth the man known the world over even before his -- -- Francis was largely mysterious to many before today that's all over now though. And many Catholics are rejoicing at the changes ABC's David Wright reports. -- -- Impressions matter. Hopes every bit as much as for ordinary people for this spoke tonight was very much of first impression that the united embedded go to you. -- His name unfamiliar even to some of the priests in this crowd someone said -- -- and we needed someone else is from Argentina to tell us that hear from Argentina. We thought it might be attacked by this thing is they -- insulin was you who you were expecting not even adults not even. Not not even not even -- needs to. So different from eight years ago when the man who stepped out on that balcony was the one cardinal whose name everyone -- Tonight it was a man they didn't expect. But -- data. He had them. Tonight nobody knew -- -- Note but -- the -- on the man's face and they'd be humidity on his face was extraordinary pleased to be amazing -- the fact that they've chosen. And I'm from that's part of our country. Suggest the global influence court charged house I think it's it is tremendous. That was the view -- Europeans in this -- for a Latin Americans this was a moment 500 years in the making. In Mexico City and Lima Peru. Especially when -- sorry. Public give me the most that they did I got I always including one -- -- -- popes we ever happening in and think god he is from Argentina. The church has validated one of their own technology. The first time in a thousand years that Europe doesn't have a monopoly on the papers. Yeah. -- -- it doesn't someone connected -- unions are being. The game is very important Russel Holland has been handled. The election of Pope Frances as a reminder that the center of gravity has really shifted from the Northern Hemisphere. To the Southern Hemisphere -- -- the growth in the Catholic Church is happening. The first not just for the new world but for the missionaries who brought the faith there he's the first jesuit vote. The idea of a jesuit -- was once as unthinkable as an American -- Historically there's been a lot of -- judgments. But that doesn't seem to be a problem -- mark so this was a victory for Georgetown. And Fordham to. Pretty -- because we kind of stressed. As those of Jesuits and saint -- and I'm or no Gloria. The greater glory of god sister Dakota -- that -- as did on incarnate knowledgeable about -- -- captured. One more first his name. The tip of the hat to the humble saint from a CC hatred of Italy and of the poor the fact that he chose to be called Frances was a definite crowd please. -- what does that say. About it right -- I think it. Some simplicity. Purity and honesty. And I think that we -- life that the church should be should be simply. I'm dead and I think. You know he goes to goes to -- I understand on on on the on the -- All of -- signaling the start of -- new chapter for the Catholic Church there's just -- costs open. Dilemma then one -- -- wanted him two in the Atlanta area we're going the World Cup right. As first impressions go. I'm David Wright for Nightline in -- A great day for Argentina no doubt about it thanks David for that and now for more reaction from the Americas -- co anchor Cynthia McFadden is at the anchor desk in New York Cynthia. Think you -- and good evening everyone. -- actions here in the US came from all over including the White House where President Obama welcomed Pope Francis saying in a statement that quoted. Alongside millions of Hispanic Americans those of us in the United States share the joy of this historic day. For more weeks out of my colleague -- co anchor Maria Elena Salinas -- even Maria hello Hawaii nice talk to you. Nice to talk to you what let's start their reaction of course in Argentina was enormous -- not talking to colleagues -- all across South America today tell us more. I have not seen that kind of reaction Argentina since their football team won in the World Cup as you know. And Argentina it's a very Catholic country about 76% are Catholic but more important not just Argentina but the whole region. Most of the Catholics in the world are in the Latin American region it's over 40%. And it's a very important area also for the church because that's also what they're losing a lot of followers. I it's no wonder that -- the last things that Benedict the sixteenth said. Is that the future of the church is in the Latin American region and that was just a few days before he he left his people see so it might have been -- -- That -- -- the cardinal said that is a region where the direction would be needed to look when they had to make that very important decision in the Sistine Chapel. Of course is also an enormous moment for Hispanics in this country. Other reaction has been powerful and tell us little bit more about that as well definitely I think it's it's -- this is a Latin American story. It has become -- of the hole but so many as we know the Catholic trip to the United States has -- -- cost up. Immigrants -- cuts of Hispanics. It because there's so Catholic most of them from Mexico of course the reaction Mexico is also very positive. Just up an overall excitement -- most of Latin American countries. To have someone that speaks their own -- would -- understands the problems that Latin America is going through. And there's certainly. Now hope Bob Francis -- scores -- -- him just come fronted. The Argentine government and many occasions on social basis because of of poverty and also because of some of these Sutton -- very liberal loss -- have been approved in Argentina. Such -- same sex marriage so I think -- that gives us more or less a glimpse of who he is where what we can expect from him. A very. The conservative. Line. Ideologically. And that simple wooden cross today a reminder of his commitment to the wars and wars -- balcony having settled -- how surprised were you personally today. When you found out that this was in fact would be the next -- Very surprised we were very very surprised we -- that there was a possibility it might be someone from Latin America and we have thought of someone from Brazil even a cardinal from Mexico or from Honduras. But let's -- -- this. What's not even on that short -- off Bob possible. People candidates suck it what's the surprise. And to menu with a very pleasant surprise thank you so much for your help and our coverage tonight -- certainly added to our understanding.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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