Catholics around the world have a new pope. Cardinals elected Pope Francisco, formerly Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio.
The 76-year-old Pope Francesco is from Argentina, the first pope from Latin America. He has served as the Archbishop of Buenos Aires since 1998. He was elevated to the cardinalate in 2001. Upon the death of Pope John Paul II, Bergoglio, considered papabile himself, participated in the 2005 papal conclave as a cardinal elector, the conclave that selected Pope Benedict XVI.
White smoke puffed out from a chimney visible in St. Peter’s Square at 7pm. The chimney connects to a stove installed in the Sistine Chapel, where the conclave was held.
After the pope was elected, the cardinals swore their obedience to him and sing the ‘Te Deum’ (Thee, O God). He then changed into the papal vestments while church bells rang. In a new procedure, he also prayed in front of the Blessed Sacrament in the Pauline Chapel. The Senior Cardinal Deacon announced the name of
the new pope from St Peter’s central balcony, saying: “Habemus Papam” (We have a Pope). The process took about 45 minutes.
Pope Francisco appeared to give his first apostolic blessing, the ‘Urbi et Orbi’ (To the City [Rome] and to the World, and was met by a cheering crowd.