New Pope is Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina; Takes name Francis
ROME (CNN) — Jorge Bergogolio, the archbishop of Buenos Aires, was elected pope on Wednesday, the first pontiff from Latin America to lead the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.
Bergogolio, who will be known as Pope Francis, was elected by cardinals in what was apparently their fifth round of voting on the second day of their conclave.
Dressed in white papal vestments, Bergogolio first appeared to the world from the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica.
“As you know, the duty of the conclave was to appoint a bishop of Rome,” he told a cheering crowd of thousands packed into St. Peter’s Square.
“It seems to me that my brother cardinals have chosen one who is from faraway. … Here I am. I would like to thank you for your embrace.”
Until last year, Bergoglio was the archbishop of Buenos Aires before stepping down because of his age. He is 76.
Bergoglio is considered a straight-shooter who calls things as he sees them, and a follower of the church’s most conservative wing.
He has clashed with the government of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner over his opposition to gay marriage and free distribution of contraceptives.
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New pope is first non-European pontiff of the modern era
With its approximately 480 million adherents, Latin America is home to an overwhelming plurality of the world’s Catholics. But no one from this region (or hemisphere, for that matter) was ever chosen to lead the church as pope.
That changed Wednesday, when Bergoglio was elected.
He is the first non-European pope of the modern era, and the first from South America.
Until last year, Bergoglio was the archbishop of Buenos Aires; he is 76.
Bergoglio is considered a straight-shooter who calls things as he sees them. He has clashed with the government of Argentinian President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner over his opposition to gay marriage and free distribution of contraceptives.
Vatican analyst: Pope Francis name ‘precedent shattering’
Bergoglio is breaking historic ground by choosing the name Francis.
It’s the first time the name is being used by a pope, said CNN Vatican expert John Allen.
The name parallels one of the most venerated figures in the Roman Catholic Church, St. Francis of Assisi.
Allen described the name of Pope Francis as “the most stunning” choice and “precedent shattering.”
“There are cornerstone figures in Catholicism” such as St. Francis, Allen said. Figures of such stature as St. Francis seem “irrepeatable — that there can be only one Francis,” Allen added.
The name symbolizes “poverty, humility, simplicity and rebuilding the Catholic Church,” Allen said.
“The new pope is sending a signal that this will not be business as usual,” Allen said.