Catholic Church Selects New Pope From Argentina


UPDATED: Thursday March 14, 2013 3:31 PM

Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio has been elected pope, and he is the first pontiff from the Americas. He has chosen the name Pope Francis.

Bergoglio, who is 76, has spent nearly his entire career at home in Argentina, overseeing churches and shoe-leather priests.
    
The archbishop of Buenos Aires reportedly got the second-most votes after Joseph Ratzinger in the 2005 papal election, and he has long specialized in the kind of pastoral work that some say is an essential skill for the next pope.
    
In a lifetime of teaching and leading priests in Latin America, which has the largest share of the world's Catholics, Bergoglio has shown a keen political sensibility as well as the kind of self-effacing humility that fellow cardinals value highly.
    
Bergoglio is known for modernizing an Argentine church that had been among the most conservative in Latin America.

Tens of thousands of people celebrated in St. Peter's Square, after the news that cardinals meeting in the Sistine Chapel had chosen a new pope.
    
The crowd gathered in a cold rain to watch the smokestack atop the chapel. And people jumped for joy when white smoke poured out just after 2 p.m. EST, a signal that the cardinals had elected a successor to Pope Benedict.
    
Many chanted "Habemus Papam," or "We have a pope," as the bells of St. Peter's Basilica and churches across Rome tolled.
    
Bergoglio was elected on the fifth ballot -- chosen in one of the fastest conclaves in years.

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And a quick decision had not been expected, since the church had been in turmoil after Pope Benedict's surprise resignation. The election also came amid revelations of mismanagement, infighting and corruption in the Holy See bureaucracy.

The Catholic Diocese of Columbus issued a statement on Wednesday afternoon:

“The Diocese of Columbus joins with all Catholics worldwide in joyful celebration at the election of Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio as His Holiness Pope Francis I.
We are confident his leadership and faith will provide us, as his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, before him, with a deeper understanding of Christ’s eternal presence; and serve as an example and constant reminder for us to follow in the Lord’s footsteps.”


    
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.

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