The Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference—the nation's largest Christian Hispanic organization—has issued the following statement in regard to the election of the new Pope Francis, the first Latin American pope:
"The selection of Jorge Mario Bergoglio as the leader of the Catholic Church represents a courageous, bold and catalytic determination. The message conveyed to the global audience solidifies the fact that the center of Christianity no longer rests in the corridors of Europe or America but rather, south of the border. I commend the cardinals for making such a historic decision."Moreover, this decision confirms the notion that Latinos stand poised, both in America and abroad, to contextualize the narrative of the Christian faith in the 21st century. I pray this decision will assist in forging relationships between Latino Evangelicals and Catholics committed to advancing the Lamb's agenda."