Bergoglio, 76, has taken the regnal name of Francis. He is a Jesuit, known for his humbleness and ascetic, unpretentious lifestyle.
The conclave of 115 cardinal electors from around the world chose the new leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics. They had been deliberating since Tuesday night (Mar. 12). One ballot was cast Tuesday and four ballots today, according to multiple reports.
Bergoglio was born in Buenos Aires, one of the five children. His father was an Italian who worked on Brazil’s railroad. The new pope studied at the seminary in Villa Devoto, before he entered the Society of Jesus in March 1958.
Bergoglio was named Archbishop of Buenos Aries in 1998, replacing Cardinal Quarracino. Pope John Paul II summoned him to the consistory in 2001, shortly after his elevation to his new post. Bergoglio was granted the papal honors of a cardinal. He was named to the Cardinal-Priest of Saint Robert Bellarmino.
Cheers arose from hundreds of faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square to witness the white smoke and the elevation of the new pope.
Bergoglio becomes head of the church at a troubling time. The papacy has been criticized for mishandling or ignoring allegation of widespread child abuse by priests and allegations of corruption inside the Church government or Curia.
Cardinal Roger Mahony, the former Archbishop of Los Angeles, is a symbol of dissension in the church. He attended the conclave even though he was censured and stripped of all public duties because of a sex abuse case.
Pope Benedict became the first pontiff to resign in in 600 years. Popes typically serve until they die.