House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), the nation's most senior Catholic Republican, expressed relief to reporters Wednesday that the College of Cardinals selected a new pope so quickly — and one from the Western Hemisphere.

Later, he shared more of his thoughts on the new pope in a statement issued by his office:

“Thanks be to God for our new pope, Francis I. American Catholics rejoice over this news, and offer our prayers and blessings to His Holiness with confidence that he will fill the Chair of St. Peter with grace. Even more special is that our church will be led for the first time by a Holy Father from the Americas, marking a new milestone in the history of a faith that has endured for millennia. For me, it is truly inspiring that our new pope has taken the name of Francis, the saint who lived a simple life of humility and charity, setting an example for how to make God’s love visible to all, especially those in despair or pain.”