Pope appoints new Buenos Aires archbishop

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Pope Francis. AP FILE PHOTO

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis made his first clerical appointment on Thursday, assigning the bishop of Santa Rosa in Argentina to take over his former post as archbishop of the large diocese of Buenos Aires.

Archbishop Mario Poli, 65, steps into the shoes of former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio as the top Catholic Church figure in Argentina.

Poli worked alongside Bergoglio in the Argentine capital — which numbers 2.5 million faithful — from 2002 to 2008, after he was appointed auxiliary bishop by Francis’s predecessor Benedict XVI.

The pair are said to be close.

The world’s first Latin American pontiff is expected to include a trip home to Argentina among his first visits abroad.

While Argentina’s Clarin daily has cited Vatican sources saying the 76-year-old pope plans to travel there in the first weeks of December, no trip has yet been officially confirmed.

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