“After only two days of voting, Roman Catholic cardinals elected Argentine Jorge Mario Bergoglio as the new pope to lead the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics. He has chosen the name Francis and is the first pope from Latin America in the Catholic Church’s 2,000-year history. The mood was electric in St. Peter’s Square Wednesday evening when Pope Francis emerged onto the basilica’s balcony for the first time in his new papal vestments. Tens of thousands of pilgrims from around the world had endured rain and cold temperatures to greet their new spiritual leader. Pope Francis, who less than an hour earlier was known as Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, is the first pope to come from the Americas, a fact he acknowledged with a smile as he addressed the crowd. “As you know, the duty of the conclave was to give Rome a bishop,” said Pope Francis. “It seems to me that my brother cardinals went almost to the end of the world. Here I am.” It took five rounds of voting for the 115 cardinals, cut off from the outside world since Tuesday in the Vatican, to reach at least a two-thirds majority in selecting a new pope. Pope Francis I has started his first day as pope with a meeting with Pope Emeritus Benedict XIV:
The 76-year-old Francis takes over from Pope Benedict XVI, who now has the title “Pope Emeritus.” Benedict, who is 85, resigned last month, saying he did not have the strength to carry out his papal duties. He was the first pontiff to voluntarily step down in 600 years.”
The first ever Latin American pontiff spent a short time praying in a Rome church known as the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. Later in the day, the pope conducts a private mass in the Sistine Chapel with the cardinals who elected him on Wednesday. He plans to meet soon with his predecessor, Pope Benedict, who stepped down last month and is staying at the papal summer home outside Rome. Benedict is now known as Pope Emeritus.
Francis is the first Jesuit pope. He is known for his advocacy of both social service for the poor and of cultural traditionalist views.