March 13, 2013 in Nation/World

Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio selected as new pope; takes name Pope Francis

From staff and wire reports
 
Natacha Pisarenko photo

FILE - This April 4, 2005 file photo shows Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, celebrating a Mass in honor of Pope John Paul II at the Buenos Aires Cathedral in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Bergoglio, who took the name of Pope Francis, was elected on Wednesday, March 13, 2013 the 266th pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church.
(Full-size photo)(All photos)

Pope Francis

Pope Francis — the first Jesuit pope — has spent nearly his entire career at home in Argentina. The former Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, reportedly got the second-most votes after Joseph Ratzinger, the last pope, 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. 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. Bergoglio is also known for modernizing an Argentine church that had been among the most conservative in Latin America.

Jesuit humility

Pope Francis has been known for years as a humble man who denied himself the luxuries that previous Buenos Aires cardinals enjoyed. Known previously as Jorge Bergoglio, the 76-year-old often rode the bus to work, cooked his own meals and regularly visited the slums that ring 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.

The name Francis

Francis, the name the new pope has chosen, is a much-beloved Italian saint who is identified with peace, poverty and a simple lifestyle. Jorge Bergoglio is the first pontiff from Latin America and the first pontiff to adopt the name of Francis, the rich young man from Assisi who renounced wealth and founded the Franciscan order of friars in 1290. The choice could foretell the pope’s priorities in striving to bring a sense of serenity to the troubled church. St. Francis is said to have been called by God to repair a church in ruins. Choosing the name of one of Italy’s patron saints also ties the new pope to Italy, the homeland of all popes of the last few centuries until 1978.

A list of popes from the 20th and 21st centuries

Pope Francis — March 13, 2013-

Benedict XVI — April 19, 2005-Feb. 28, 2013

John Paul II — Oct. 16, 1978-April 2, 2005

John Paul I — Aug. 26-Sept. 28, 1978

Paul VI — June 21, 1963-Aug. 6, 1978

John XXIII — Oct. 28, 1958-June 3, 1963

Pius XII — March 2, 1939-Oct. 9, 1958

Pius XI — Feb. 6, 1922-Feb. 10, 1939

Benedict XV — Sept. 3, 1914-Jan. 22, 1922

Pius X — Aug. 4, 1903-Aug. 20, 1914

Leo XIII — Feb. 20, 1878-July 20, 1903

Papal digs

The new pope can’t move into the papal apartment just yet. He will remain with the cardinals at the Vatican’s Santa Marta hotel, an impersonal modern hotel on the edge of the Vatican gardens where they have been sequestered since the beginning of the conclave. He will spend his first night as pontiff in a room that features a bed with a dark wood headboard and a carved image of Christ’s face, as well as a sitting area and a study. The new pope is expected to stay there for a few weeks until the papal apartment in the Apostolic Palace can be renovated. The apartment was sealed Feb. 28, just after Benedict resigned, and cannot be reopened until the new pope formally takes possession.

Twitter handle

The pope’s Twitter account, whose profile was changed to read “Sede Vacante” when Benedict stepped down, now has been switched back to “Pontifex.” No tweets yet.

Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina was elected pope Wednesday and chose the name Francis, becoming the first pontiff from the Americas and the first from outside Europe in more than a millennium.

Looking stunned, Francis shyly waved to the crowd of tens of thousands of people who gathered in St. Peter’s Square, marveling that the cardinals needed to look to “the end of the earth” to find a bishop of Rome.

In choosing a 76-year-old pope, the cardinals clearly decided that they didn’t need a vigorous, young pope who would reign for decades but rather a seasoned, popular pastor who would draw followers to the faith. The cardinal electors overcame deep divisions to select the 266th pontiff in a remarkably fast, five-ballot conclave.

Francis asked for prayers for himself, and for retired Pope Benedict XVI, whose surprising resignation paved the way for the conclave that brought the first Jesuit to the papacy.

“Brothers and sisters, good evening,” Francis said to wild cheers in his first public remarks as pontiff. “You know that the work of the conclave is to give a bishop to Rome. It seems as if my brother cardinals went to find him from the end of the earth. Thank you for the welcome.”

Bergoglio had reportedly finished second in the 2005 conclave that produced Benedict — who last month became the first pope to resign in 600 years.

After announcing ‘’Habemus Papam” — ‘’We have a pope!” — a cardinal standing on the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica on Wednesday revealed the identity of the new pontiff, using his Latin name.

The longtime archbishop of Buenos Aires has spent nearly his entire career at home in Argentina, overseeing churches and shoe-leather priests.

Like other Jesuit intellectuals, Bergoglio has focused on social outreach. Catholics are still buzzing over his speech last year accusing fellow church officials of hypocrisy for forgetting that Jesus Christ bathed lepers and ate with prostitutes.

Bergoglio has slowed a bit with age and is feeling the effects of having a lung removed due to infection when he was a teenager.

In a lifetime of teaching and leading priests in Latin America, which has the largest share of the world’s Catholics, Bergoglio has also shown a keen political sensibility as well as the kind of self-effacing humility that fellow cardinals value highly, according to his official biographer, Sergio Rubin.

He showed that humility on Wednesday, saying that before he blessed the crowd he wanted their prayers for him and bowed his head.

“Good night, and have a good rest,” he said before going back into the palace.

Tens of thousands of people who braved cold rain to watch the smokestack atop the Sistine Chapel jumped in joy when white smoke poured out a few minutes past 7 p.m., many shouting “Habemus Papam!” or “We have a pope!” — as the bells of St. Peter’s Basilica and churches across Rome pealed.

They cheered again when the doors to the loggia opened, and again when Bergoglio’s name was announced.

“I can’t explain how happy I am right now,” said Ben Canete, a 32-year-old Filipino, jumping up and down in excitement.

Elected on the fifth ballot, Francis was chosen in one of the fastest conclaves in years, remarkable given there was no clear front-runner going into the vote and that the church had been in turmoil following the upheaval unleashed by Pope Benedict XVI’s surprise resignation.

A winner must receive 77 votes, or two-thirds of the 115, to be named pope.

For comparison’s sake, Benedict was elected on the fourth ballot in 2005 — but he was the clear front-runner going into the vote. Pope John Paul II was elected on the eighth ballot in 1978 to become the first non-Italian pope in 455 years.

Patrizia Rizzo ran down the main boulevard to the piazza with her two children as soon as she heard the news on the car radio. “I parked the car … and dashed to the square, she said. “It’s so exciting, as Romans we had to come.”

The Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said it was a “good hypothesis” that the pope would be installed next Tuesday, on the feast of St. Joseph, patron saint of the universal church.

Unlike the confusion that reigned during the 2005 conclave, the smoke this time around has been clear: black during the first two rounds of burned ballots, and then a clear white on Wednesday night — thanks to special smoke flares akin to those used in soccer matches or protests that were lit in the chapel ovens.

The Vatican on Wednesday divulged the secret recipe used: potassium perchlorate, anthracene, which is a derivative of coal tar, and sulfur for the black smoke; potassium chlorate, lactose and a pine resin for the white smoke.

The chemicals are contained in five units of a cartridge that is placed inside the stove of the Sistine Chapel. When activated, the five blocks ignite one after another for about a minute apiece, creating the steady stream of smoke that accompanies the natural smoke from the burned ballot papers.

Despite the great plumes of smoke that poured out of the chimney, neither the Sistine frescoes nor the cardinals inside the chapel suffered any smoke damage, Lombardi said.


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