Photo: Pope Francis I
Argentina’s Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio addressed tens of thousands of the faithful in St. Peter’s Square late Wednesday after being chosen as the new pope of the Roman Catholic Church
Taking the name Francis I, the 76-year-old Jesuit becomes the 266th pontiff and the first from Latin America.
“Brothers and sisters, good evening. You know that the duty of a conclave is to provide Rome with a bishop and it seems that my brother cardinals went to the ends of the earth to find him, but here we are,” were the first words the new pontiff spoke amid applause from a crowd that Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanno estimated at no fewer than 100,000 people.
“Let us begin this journey of the Church of Rome, bishop and people, together, in brotherhood, love and mutual trust. Let us pray for each other, for the whole world, such that there may be one great brotherhood. This journey must bear fruit in the new spreading of the Gospel,” the new pope said.
The archbishop of Buenos Aires - who was born in that city to Italian immigrants - came in second in the voting at the 2005 conclave that chose then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger to succeed John Paul II as Pope Benedict XVI, who resigned last month, citing age and declining health.
Bergoglio became pontiff on Wednesday after garnering at least 77 votes in the conclave’s fifth ballot.
Benedict XVI was elected March 19, 2005, on the fourth vote, while John Paul II emerged as pope on Oct. 16, 1978, on the eighth vote.
The solemn Mass to mark the beginning of the new pontificate will take place March 19, according to Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi, who said Francis I telephoned Benedict XVI, who is at the papal summer retreat outside Rome, shortly after he became pope.