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Cardinal Bergoglio, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, elected as Pope Francis

by | Mar 13, 2013

By Ernest Ohlhoff, director
NRLC Department of Outreach

Pope Francis greets the pilgrims in St. Peter's Square and delivers his first Urbi et Orbi blessing. Credit: Mauricio Artieda/CNA

Pope Francis greets the pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square and delivers his first Urbi et Orbi blessing. Credit: Mauricio Artieda/CNA

Vatican City, Rome, Italy – Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, has been elected  by his peers to be the new Pope of the Roman Catholic Church. Cardinal Bergoglio (pronounced Ber-GOAL-io) chose the name Francis I. His Holiness Pope Francis I, a Jesuit, is 76 years old and is the first South American to lead the Catholic Church.

Pro-lifers are cheered by  his strong statements on abortion (“abortion is never a solution”) and the dignity of the elderly and the importance of resisting euthanasia (“Even if euthanasia is not legal in many countries, it is being actualized covertly through attitudes of exclusion and abandonment” of the elderly).

The new Pope’s election Wednesday came after only a day and a half of deliberations in a cloistered meeting known as a conclave. A huge crowd erupted in applause when white smoke, accompanied by the pealing of bells (“to eliminate any confusion”)  billowed from a flue on the roof of the Sistine Chapel. His papacy is effective immediately.

Pope Francis’s election (he is the 266th pontiff) is marked by a number of firsts; the first Jesuit, the first Latin American, and the first to choose the name Francis.

The significance of the first Latin American Pope is expected to be received with great joy by the Latin American Catholics who a large percentage of the world’s Catholic population.

It is expected that Pope Francis will place a high priority on life issues because he served as a member of the Pontifical Council on the Family.

The new Pope prayed for himself, the Catholic Church, and for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

“Brothers and sisters, good evening,” Francis said in his first public remarks as pontiff. “You know that the work of the conclave is to give a bishop to Rome. It seems as if my brother cardinals went to find him from the end of the earth. Thank you for the welcome.”

Pro-life champion Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia stated that Pope Francis “is a man from the new heartland of the global Church; a priest of extraordinary intellectual and cultural strengths; a man deeply engaged in the issues of contemporary life and able to speak to the modern heart; open to the new realities the Church faces; and rooted in a deep love of Jesus Christ.”

“He is a wonderful choice; a pastor God sends not just to the Church but to every person of good will who honestly yearns for justice, peace and human dignity in our time,” added Archbishop Chaput.

Exactly when Pope Francis will be formally installed is unclear, but Vatican spokesman Fr. Frederico Lombardi said (prior to the announcement of the new Pope) that next Tuesday–the feast of St. Joseph– is a possible date.

Categories: Religious