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POPE

Spain’s royals welcome new pope

Spain's King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia sent a message of congratulations to the Catholic church's new Argentinian pope: Francis I on Wednesday night.

Spain's royals welcome new pope
New pope Francis I is the first Castilian-speaking pontiff in several centuries. Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP

The royal couple sent their best wishes to the 76-year-old Argentinian pope who will be known in Spanish as Santo Padre Francisco I, reported ABC on Wednesday.

Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy also welcomed the news of the election of Jorge Mario Bergoglio.

In his message, Mariano Rajoy said he hoped to "strengthen the special relations between the Holy See and Spain".

"On this special, historic occasion in which the church is more universal than ever, I wish to demonstrate that my government is ready to maintain and strengthen these special relations," said Rajoy.

The new pope — whose choice came as a surprise to most observers — is the first pope from the South American continent and the first native Castellano-speaking pope since the Borjas of the 15th and 16th centuries.

As the child of Italian immigrants, Francis I is also a native Italian speaker.

Francis I is also the first member of the powerful Jesuit order to become pope.

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HITLER

Pope warns against populism and ‘saviours’ like Hitler

Pope Francis warned on Saturday against populism, saying it could lead to the election of "saviours" like Hitler.

Pope warns against populism and 'saviours' like Hitler
Pope Francis gives his audience at the Vatican on January 18. Photo: Andreas Solaro/ AFP
In an hour-long interview with Spanish newspaper El Pais conducted as Donald Trump was being sworn in as US president, the pontiff also condemned the idea of using walls and barbed wire to keep out foreigners.
   
“Of course crises provoke fears and worries,” he said but added that for him “the example of populism in the European sense of the word is Germany in 1933”.
   
“Germany… was looking for a leader, someone who would give her back her identity and there was a little man named Adolf Hitler who said 'I can do it'.”    
 
“Hitler did not steal power,” the pope said. “He was elected by his people and then he destroyed his people.”
   
The Germans at that time also wanted to protect themselves with “walls and barbed wire so that others cannot take away their identity,” he said.
 
“The case of Germany is classic,” he said, adding that Hitler gave them a “deformed identity and we know what it produced.”
   
Pope Francis however underscored that it was too early to pass judgement on Trump.
   
“Let's see. Let's see what he does and then we will evaluate,” he said.