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Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio elected, will be 'Pope Francis'

The new pope is Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, and he will go by the name Pope Francis — first pontiff from the Americas, and the first Latin pope.

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The new pope is Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, and he will go by the name Pope Francis I — first pontiff from the Americas, and the first Latin pope.

Earlier Wednesday, the crowd gathered in a cold rain to watch the smokestack atop the chapel. And they jumped for joy when white smoke poured out, a signal that the cardinals had elected a successor to Pope Benedict.

Many chanted "Habemus Papam", or "We have a pope," as the bells of St. Peter's Basilica and churches across Rome tolled.

Pope Francis I — the first Jesuit pope — has spent nearly his entire career at home in Argentina.

The former Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, reportedly finished second in voting to Joseph Ratzinger, who became Pope Benedict XVI, in the 2005 papal election. He has long specialized in the kind of pastoral work — overseeing churches and priests — that some say is an essential skill for a pope.

Pope Francis I shyly waved to the crowd in St. Peter's Square as he made his initial appearance and marveled that the cardinals had had to look to "the end of the earth" to find a new pontiff.

Francis asked for prayers for himself -- and for retired Pope Benedict XVI, whose resignation paved the way for his election.

In a lifetime of teaching and leading priests in Latin America, which has the largest share of the world's Catholics, the former Bergoglio has shown a keen political sensibility as well as a self-effacing humility, according to his official biographer, Sergio Rubin. His personal style is the antithesis of Vatican splendor.

Pope Francis has been known for years as a humble man who denied himself the luxuries that previous Buenos Aires cardinals enjoyed.

The former Bergoglio often rode the bus to work, cooked his own meals and regularly visited the slums that surround Argentina's capital. He considers social outreach, rather than doctrinal battles, to be the essential business of the church.

He has in the past accused fellow church leaders of hypocrisy and forgetting that Jesus Christ bathed lepers and ate with prostitutes.

In his first appearance in St. Peter's Square as the new pope today, Francis wore a simple white robe.

Bergoglio is also known for modernizing an Argentine church that had been among the most conservative in Latin America.

In St. Peter's Square earlier Wednesday, there was a fleeting moment of indecision when the first plumes of smoke appeared from the Vatican chimney.

Some cried out that it was black, signifying that no decision was made by the conclave. Then, seconds later under a steady rain, it became clear that white smoke was pouring out.

Wild cheering erupted in the square.

"Oh no, it's black!" said an Italian nun, Sister Eugenia. "It's white! It's white!'

Ben Canete, a 32-year-old Filipino, jumped up and down shouting: "Viva il Papa!"

"I can't explain how happy I am right now," he said.

Bergoglio was elected on the fifth ballot -- chosen in one of the fastest conclaves in years. And a quick decision hadn't been expected, since the church had been in turmoil after Pope Benedict's surprise resignation. The election also came amid revelations of mismanagement, infighting and corruption in the Holy See bureaucracy.

The candidates considered frontrunners before Bergoglio's election  included Angelo Scola, the archbhishop of Milan, and Marc Ouellet, the Canadian who heads the Vatican's bishops' office.


©2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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