Published on Mar 13, 2013

Cardinals have chosen Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina to be the new leader of the Catholic Church.


Mar 13, 2013 3:26 PM

76-Year-Old Argentinian Cardinal Bergoglio Named New Pope, First Ever from Americas

Max Read


In a major surprise, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, an Argentinian cardinal predicted by almost no one, has been named Pope by the Papal Conclave. He will be the first-ever pope from the Western Hemipshere, and will take the name Francis I. Bergoglio was announced to a packed and cheering St. Peter’s Square minutes ago, following the traditional burning of white smoke through the chimney of the Sistine Chapel.

Bergoglio, a 76-year-old Jesuit and the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, was a “close second” when Benedict was chosen in 2005, according to the Times‘ Rachel Donadio. Generally, Papal “runners-up” aren’t chosen by the following conclave—it’s seen as insulting to the previous pope—but Bergoglio is thought to appeal to both hard-liners and moderates in the College of Cardinals, according to John Allen of National Catholic Reporter:

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Gregorio Borgia / AP
White smoke emerges from the chimney on the roof of the Sistine Chapel, in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, on March 13. The white smoke indicates that a new pope has been elected.
Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images

The new pontiff appears on the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica on March 13, 2013, in Vatican City. Bergoglio will be known as Pope Francis.

Paul Hanna / Reuters

People wait in the rain under umbrellas at St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican on March 13.

Michael Sohn / AP

People watch on a video monitor in St. Peter’s Square as Monsignor Guido Marini, master of liturgical ceremonies, closes the double doors to the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City on March 12, at the start of the conclave of cardinals to elect the next pope. Marini closed the doors after shouting “Extra omnes,” Latin for “all out,” telling everyone but those taking part in the conclave to leave the frescoed hall. He then locked it.

Andrew Medichini / AP

Cardinal Angelo Sodano leads other cardinals in a Mass for the election of a new pope inside St. Peter’s Basilica, at the Vatican, on March 12.

Natacha Pisarenko / AP
Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, archbishop of Buenos Aires, leads a Mass at the Metropolitan Cathedral in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Feb. 14, 2013. Cardinal Bergoglio was named leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics on March 13, after being elected pope.
Tony Gomez / REUTERS

Bergoglio washes the feet of a unidentified woman on Holy Thursday at the Buenos Aires’ Sarda maternity hospital on March 24, 2005, when he was an archbishop.


Who is Jorge Bergoglio?

Posted: 03/13/2013 – 1:51 pm PDT | Last Updated: 03/13/2013 – 4:27 pm PDT

Who is Jorge Bergoglio? As white smoke rises over the Vatican and “Habemus Papum,” is cried from its balcony, the new Pope’s identity is revealed. Cardinal Bergoglio, from Buenos Aires, Argentina, bested all others to become the new Pope of the Roman Catholic Church.

Who is Jorge Bergoglio?

Photo Credit Macdiarmid, Getty Image

Pope Francis
Photo Credit Peter Macdiarmid, Getty Images

Jorge Mario Bergoglio was born December, 17, 1936, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, making him the first Pope born in The Americas, the first non-European Pope, and first chosen Jesuit priest in history. Born to a railroad worker, Bergoglio was one of five children born to Mario Jose Bergoglio and his wife Regina Maria Sivori, Italian immigrants. A life threatening lung infection in his 20′s required the removal of one of his lungs. The remainder of his upbringing was normal and modest. He enjoyed activities typical of anyone, including tango dancing with his girlfriend, until he discovered and committed to his religious calling.

Bergoglio spent the majority of his early Catholic career in academia. His rise to papacy started upon his attendance to seminary school in Villa Devoto before entering the Society of Jesus on March 11, 1958. Bergoglio continued his studies at Colegio Maximo San Jose in San Miguel, obtaining a license in philosophy to teach literature and psychology at Colegio de la Inmaculada in Santa Fe and the Colegio del Salvador in Buenos Aires.

On December 13, 1969, Archbishop Ramon Jose Castellano ordained Bergoglio into priesthood. Demonstrating distinguished leadership skills, Bergoglio quickly rose through the ranks within the Society of Jesus, promoting him as provincial for Argentina from 1973 to 1979 before transferring to San Miguel to serve as its rector of the seminary. He served as rector of the seminary until 1986, when he transferred to Germany to complete his doctoral dissertation. He then returned to Argentina serving as Cordoba’s confessor and spiritual director.

Bergoglio was elevated as archbishop replacing Cardinal Quarracino. On February 28, 1998. Meanwhile, the Eastern Catholics of Argentina lacked a prelate and archbishop Bergoglio summated as ordinary until February 21, 2001 when Pope John Paul II ordained him Cardinal Priest of Saint Robert Bellarmino in Vatican City.

Bergoglio exceeded expectations as cardinal being appointed multiple positions in the Roman Curia, serving on the congregation of Clergy, Congregation of Divine Worship and Sacraments, Congregation of Societies of Apostolic Life and Congregation of Institutes of Consecrated Life. Infamous among the Church for his humility and commitment to social justice, Bergoglio was known to cook his own meals, use public transportation, reside in a small apartment, and is an avid football fan, supporting a popular Argentinian club dubbed ‘The Saints’. His genuine humility was further demonstrated in the 2005 papal conclave. Rumor has it his odds of beating Ratzinger in a tie were indefinite until he pleaded with the other cardinals not to vote for him. Perhaps it is this humility that has made the 2013 conclave one of the quickest turnovers in papal history.


New pope slips out of Vatican for morning prayer visit

A photo of the membership card of Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio from the San Lorenzo soccer club, of which he is known to be a fan, is seen in this undated handout photograph distributed by the club on March 13, 2013, after Bergoglio was elected as the new Pope. REUTERS-San Lorenzo soccer club-Handout

By Crispian Balmer and Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY | Thu Mar 14, 2013 4:54am EDT

(Reuters) – Pope Francis, barely 12 hours after his election, quietly left the Vatican early on Thursday to pray for guidance at a Rome basilica as he looks to usher a Catholic Church mired in intrigue and scandal into a new age of simplicity and humility.

Francis went to the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, the oldest church in the world dedicated to the Madonna, where he prayed before a famous icon of the Madonna called the Salus Populi Romani, or Protectress of the Roman People.

“He spoke to us cordially like a father,” said Father Ludovico Melo, a priest who prayed with the pope. “We were given 10 minutes’ advance notice that the pope was coming”.

The first South American pontiff and the first non-European pope in 1,300 years, Francis is also bishop of Rome.

In his first words on Wednesday night he made clear that he would take that part of his role seriously and made good on the promise by visiting one of the capital’s most important churches.

Later on Thursday he was to go to the papal summer retreat at Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome, to meet Emeritus Pope Benedict, who last month became the first pontiff in 600 years to step down, saying he was too frail to tackle all the problems of the 1.2 billion-member Church.

Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio’s election has broken Europe’s centuries-old grip on the papacy but he is also the first to take the name Francis, in honor of the 12th century saint from Assisi who spurned wealth to pursue a life of poverty.

His elevation on the second day of a closed-door conclave of cardinals came as a surprise, with many Vatican watchers expecting a longer deliberation, and none predicting the conservative 76-year-old Bergoglio would get the nod.

He looked as startled as everyone, hesitating a moment on the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica before stepping out to greet the huge crowds gathered in the square below to catch a glimpse of the new pontiff.

“I ask a favor of you … pray for me,” he urged the cheering crowds, telling them the 114 other cardinal-electors “went almost to the end of the world” to find a new leader.

“Good night and have a good rest,” Bergoglio said before disappearing back into the opulent surroundings of the Vatican City – a far cry from his simple apartment in Buenos Aires.

“Yesterday he transmitted such humility, love and brotherhood,” said a woman outside the basilica on Thursday morning.

On Wednesday night, delighted priests, nuns and pilgrims danced around the obelisk in the middle of St. Peter’s Square, chanting: “Long Live the Pope” and “Argentina, Argentina”.

In his native Argentina, jubilant Catholics poured into their local churches to celebrate.

“I hope he changes all the luxury that exists in the Vatican, that he steers the Church in a more humble direction, something closer to the gospel,” said Jorge Andres Lobato, a 73-year-old retired state prosecutor.


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