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Argentina’s Cardinal Bergoglio Elected Pope; Chooses ’Francis‘

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Pope Francis appears for the first time on the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican on 13 March. Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina was elected the 266th Roman Catholic pontiff. He is the first Jesuit and first Latin American pope. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring) 

13 Mar 2013 – By Francis X. Rocca and Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, the leader of a large urban archdiocese in Latin America, was elected the 266th pope and took the name Francis.

He is the first pope in history to come from the Western Hemisphere and the first non-European to be elected in almost 1,300 years. The Jesuit was also the first member of his order to be elected pope, and the first member of any religious order to be elected in nearly two centuries.

The election of 13 March came on the second day of the conclave, on the conclave’s fifth ballot. It was a surprisingly quick conclusion to a conclave that began with many plausible candidates and no clear favorite.

The new pope was chosen by at least two-thirds of the 115 cardinals from 48 countries, who cast their ballots in secret in the Sistine Chapel.

His election was announced in Latin from the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica, to a massive crowd under the rain in the square below and millions watching around the world.

White smoke poured from the Sistine Chapel chimney at 7:05 p.m., signaling that the cardinals had chosen a successor to retired Pope Benedict XVI. Two minutes later, the bells of St. Peter’s Basilica began pealing continuously to confirm the election.

At 8:12, French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, the senior cardinal in the order of deacons, appeared at the basilica balcony and read out in Latin: “I announce to you a great joy: We have a pope! The most eminent and most reverend lord, Lord Jorge Mario, Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church, Bergoglio, who has taken for himself the name Francis.”

The crowd in the square responded with cheers, applause and the waving of rain-soaked national flags. Ten minutes the later the new pope appeared. He sought prayers for Pope Benedict and spoke of the journey the church was about to begin.

“Now I would like to give my blessing. But first, I will ask a favor: Before the bishop blesses his people, he asks that you pray to the Lord to bless me, the prayer of the people for the blessing of their bishop. Let’s pray for me in silence,” he said.

Celsa Negrini, an older woman from Rome, said the new pope’s choice of name was “beautiful. Francis is the patron of Italy. It’s a humble choice, a choice of one who will reach out to the poor.”

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi told reporters it was “beautiful that a Latin American was chosen.”

“I don’t know him well, even though we are part of same religious family,” he said “I greeted him the other day, but didn’t expect to see him again dressed in white.”

A respected Italian journal said Pope Francis had the second-highest number of votes on each of the four ballots in the 2005 conclave.

Pope Francis has had a growing reputation as a very spiritual man with a talent for pastoral leadership serving in a region with the largest number of the world’s Catholics.





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