Pope Francis adresses the faithful in St Peter's Square in the Vatican on Wednesday NightAfter less than two days of deliberations, prayer and voting by the College of Cardinals in the Vatican's Papal Conclave, white smoke billowed from a chimney over the Sistine Chapel announcing to the world that a new Pope had been chosen after Pope Benedict XVI stepped down at the end of February.
Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina- reportedly the runner up when a conclave was convened in 2005 after Pope John Paul II's death- was announced as the new pope on Wednesday to a jubilant crowd gathered in St Peter's square.
The appearance of white smoke from the Sistine Chapel chimney had earlier electrified Rome.Born in Argentina to Italian immigrants, the 76 year old Bergoglio had previously served as archbishop of Buenos Aires, the nation's capital city. Bergoglio also represents a number of firsts for the Catholic Church- the first Jesuit to be named Pope, the first-ever pontiff from the Americas and the first Pope to take the name Francis. This has led to speculation whether Bergoglio selected the name in honor of St Francis Assisi or St Francis Xavier.
Within seconds, people were running up the avenue that leads from the River Tiber to St Peter’s Square.
“They’ve chosen, they’ve chosen,” a woman told her daughter as they hurried across rain-soaked cobbles, two small figures in a river of hundreds hurrying to the seat of the Roman Catholic Church.
Groups of young people sang and danced in front of television cameras and mobile phone networks crashed as tens of thousands of people called friends and relations.
They waved flags and shouted “Viva Il Papa” — without yet knowing who Il Papa was — as more people crammed into the square
There was then an agonising wait of more than an hour in the drizzle, as the crowd fizzed with speculation as to who the new pope might be.
He was picked after the cardinals cast just five votes in the conclave, held in the frescoed splendour of the Sistine Chapel.
In Buenos Aires, Bergoglio also earned a reputation for eschewing his own personal driver and quarters, instead taking the bus, living in a modest apartment and cooking his own meals. In recent years, the archbishop has run afoul with Argentina's left-of-center husband and wife presidential team of Nestor and Christina Fernandez de Kirchner on issues such as same sex marriage and abortion while the De Kirchners accused Bergoglio of complicity during Argentina's 'Dirty War' [of which there is ZERO evidence- NANESB!] which saw dissidents and opponents of Argentina's ruling military junta 'disappear' by the thousands in the late 1970s and early 1980s. In 2007, Bergoglio also discussed denying communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians.