03/13/2013 05:19 pm ET Updated Mar 13, 2013

First Latino Pope: 5 Reasons The Cardinals Picked Argentina's Jorge Mario Bergoglio

5 Reasons A Latino Pope Makes Sense

The Catholic Church made history on Wednesday, picking the first Latino Pope in the institution's history.

Argentina's Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected Pope Francis -- a recognition of the leading role Latin America should play in the institution, given that it's the region with the most practicing Catholics in the world.

Some 39 percent of the world's Catholics hail from the region. Brazil and Mexico have the world's first- and second-largest Catholic populations, respectively, according to CNN.

Francis may be able to give the Church some insight into how to keep its numbers growing. The 76-year-old Pope is also the first Jesuit priest to hold the papacy, earning a reputation in Argentina for focusing on social outreach, according to the Associated Press.

For many in Latin America, not to mention Latinos living in the United States, this day is long overdue.

Check out five reasons why electing Jorge Mario Bergoglio to become the first Latino Pope was a smart move for the Catholic Church. Let us know what you think in the comments.