- (Photo: Reuters/Max Rossi)
Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina will be the new pope with the name Pope Francis. One hundred and fifteen cardinals locked away in the Sistine Chapel announced to the world Wednesday that a new pope had been selected when thick white smoke could be seen billowing out from the chapel's chimney. Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, was selected and took the name Francis.
He is the first pope elected from Argentina and was the runner up to Pope Benedict XVI. Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, is revered for being a man of the people and for his continued commitment to social justice. He chose to live in a small apartment, rather than in the luxurious bishop's residence, and is still seen using public transportation.
As the cardinals entered the second night of the conclave, many were not expecting a decision so soon, given that there was no clear front runner going into the papal elections.
The white smoke appeared at 7:05 p.m. CET (2:05 p.m. EDT) time after the fifth round of voting for the day. In 2005, Benedict XVI was elected on the second day after four rounds of voting.
The new pope takes over less than a month after the Vatican revealed that the 85-year-old pontiff felt he was no longer able to carry out his duties as head of the Catholic Church, due to his deteriorating health.
"After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry," Pope Benedict XVI statement explained.
The last pope to resign was Pope Gregory XII, who left his post in 1415 as part of a deal that went to end the Great Western Schism concerning competing papal prospects.
Born Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger, Pope Benedict became the 265th pope after being elected on April 19, 2005, at the age of 78 following the death of Pope John Paul II. Benedict, who was ordained into ministry in 1951, is the ninth German pope, and was a prominent figure at the Vatican for decades before he took up the position as pontiff.