Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Jorge Bergoglio, Argentine cardinal (and Jesuit),
elected Pope Francis

Updated: 3:37PM PST Alfred Lamont just put this link on Facebook:

New pope 2013: Jorge Bergoglio, Argentine cardinal, elected Pope Francis

By ASSOCIATED PRESS | 3/13/13 2:25 PM EDT Updated: 3/13/13 4:53 PM EDT
VATICAN CITY — Argentine Jorge Bergoglio was elected pope Wednesday and chose the papal name Francis, becoming first pontiff from the Americas and the first from outside Europe in more than a millennium.

Newly elected Pope Francis, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio
of Argentina, appears on the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica
 after being elected by the conclave of cardinals at
 the Vatican on March 13. (Photo: Reuters)

A stunned-looking Bergoglio shyly waved to the crowd of tens of thousands of people who gathered in St. Peter's Square, marveling that the cardinals had had to look to "the end of the earth" to find a bishop of Rome.

(PHOTOS: Cardinals gather in the Sistine Chapel to elect a new pope)

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 Papum" — "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 76-year-old archbishop of Buenos Aires has spent nearly his entire career at home in Argentina, overseeing churches and shoe-leather priests.

(Also on POLITICO: Pope Francis biography and Latin America background)

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.

Chants of "Long live the pope!" arose from the throngs of faithful, many with tears in their eyes. Crowds went wild as the Vatican and Italian military bands marched through the square and up the steps of the basilica, followed by Swiss Guards in silver helmets and full regalia.

They played the introduction to the Vatican and Italian anthems and the crowd, which numbered at least 50,000, joined in, waving flags from countries around the world.

"I can't explain how happy I am right down," 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.

(PHOTOS: Pope Benedict XVI through the years)

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."

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