Argentina’s Cardinal, Jorge Bergoglio, was elected the new pope of the Roman Catholic Church on Wednesday.
He’ll go by the name Pope Francis.
There was tremendous excitement as white smoke puffed out today, signaling the voting cardinals had agreed on a choice. 115 cardinals voted and at least 2/3 of them had to agree on their pick. An hour went by between the white smoke and finding out who it was.
Thousands of people gathered in the square at St. Peter’s Basilica to witness history as the new pope stepped out onto the balcony to greet the world. Millions more gathered around their TVs, Internet, radio, and smart phones.
Many guessed who they thought would become pope. Cardinal Bergoglio [pronounced: Ber-go-lee-oh] was on a few people’s short list, but he was a bit of a surprise choice.
Part of the reason is that he’s older than some thought the new pope would be. He’s 76. He’s supposed to be the pope until he dies.
There are a couple of firsts with Pope Francis’s selection. He’s the first pope from South America. It’s significant he’s from there because 41% of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics are from South America.
He’s also the first Jesuit, which is a specific kind of Roman Catholic.
And he’s the first pope to take the name Francis.
He is described as humble. And Reuters reports he was a main contender in the papal conclave that elected the last pope.
Voting only took two days, which is considered pretty short for a papal conclave.
When he finally came out to introduce himself to the world, he gave a short speech. Then, before blessing the crowd, he asked that the crowd to pray for him first. While it’s a tremendous honor to be chosen to be the pope, he just landed an incredibly hard job, and knows it.
Did you watch?
To read HTE’s previous story on Pope Benedict XVI’s retirement and the papal conclave, click here .