The new leader of the Catholic Church was revealed today to be Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina and he has taken the name of Pope Francis.
He stepped onto the Vatican balcony dressed in white for the first time to address the roaring crowd in St. Peter’s Square.
Bergoglio, 76, is a Jesuit from Buenos Aires and is the first pope from South America.
The cardinals who elected the new pope looked out from surrounding balconies above the elated crowd.
French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, the senior cardinal in the order of the deacons, stepped onto the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica to announce, “habemus papam,” Latin for “We have a pope.”
Tauran then revealed the pontiff’s birth name and the name he has chosen for himself as pope.
The appearance of the new pontiff triggered the second roar from more than 100,000 people jammed into St. Peter’s Square. The first was when the faithful, standing in a cold rain, spotted white smoke wafting over the Vatican, signaling the election was over. Moments later the bells of St. Peter’s Basilica rang out, soon joined by church bells all over Rome.
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The election was over quickly, coming on the second day of the conclave. The Associated Press reported that the election was sealed on the fifth ballot.
The newly elected 266th pope was moved into the Room of Tears where he was outfitted with his new papal vestments before proceeding to a scarlet-draped balcony to greet the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics watching around the world.
The Vatican band and Swiss Guard marched into St. Peter’s Square ahead of the new leader who they have been sworn to protect for centuries.
The new pope will likely celebrate his installation mass within the next week.
“Usually it’s a five or six day interim between welcoming night and the celebration of his installation. He is already the pope,” Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta told ABC News in Rome. “The installation celebration is a festive, prayerful moment to give an opportunity for a larger community to pray with him in Eucharist and celebrate.”
The 115 cardinal electors began the conclave on Tuesday following the resignation of Benedict XVI, the first pontiff to resign in 600 years. At least a two-thirds majority — 77 votes — was required to elect the next pope.
The new pope is then expected to step onto the balcony to greet the crowd gathered below in St. Peter’s Square.
by Paul L. Gleiser
(ROME) One of the things we are able to accomplish by covering a story like the election of a new pope is to take you places that would be hard, or even impossible to get to, without the kind of credentials that members of the media often have the privilege to obtain.
That’s precisely what we did Saturday afternoon in Rome in advance of the conclave to elect a new pope set to begin on Tuesday.
Special feature: Take an interactive 360° Virtual Tour of the Sistine Chapel.
The Sistine Chapel
If you are ever a tourist in Rome, the Sistine Chapel is a must-see. The chapel gets its name by virtue of having been commissioned by Pope Sixtus IV. The first mass was celebrated in the chapel on August 9, 1473.
The Sistine Chapel is famous for two things: its frescoed ceiling and altar wall, both by Michelangelo, and as the room in which popes are selected.
The Sistine Chapel has been closed to the public for over a week as workers prepare for the conclave that begins Tuesday, March 12. But selected members of the media were given access to the interior of the Sistine Chapel even as preparations were underway.
So here is a little tour of the most famous chapel in the world as it prepares to again take part in the selection of a new pope.
Michelangelo’s Famous Ceiling
The Sistine Chapel is rather plain on the outside. It is inside that it stands apart from all other places of worship. That fact is largely attributable to Michelangelo.
Michelangelo was a sculptor. So he said as loudly and as vehemently as he could. Pope Julius II, though having commissioned Michelangelo to sculpt his funeral monument, was having none of it. In 1508, the pope insisted that Michelangelo sign a contract to begin work on the fresco that would replace the depictions of constellations that had adorned the chapel since its completion 27 years earlier.
It was backbreaking work for Michelangelo. Fresco is not painting. Paint is the application of pigment to a surface. Fresco is coloring the very material that forms the surface.
In order to execute the ceiling fresco, Michelangelo constructed a scaffold and worked on his back day-in and day-out for the four year s it took to complete the work.
The image shown here is one of the most famous scenes from the Sistine ceiling. Called The Creation of Adam, it is one of nine scenes from the Old Testament that form the heart of the Sistine Chapel ceiling.
The Last Judgment
Some 20 years after completing the ceiling, Michelangelo was again conscripted, this time by Pope Clement VII, to execute a fresco in the Sistine Chapel. This time, the art was to adorn the wall behind the altar.
The Last Judgment was begun in 1536 and finished in 1541.
In this scene, we see a beardless, muscular Christ having come again to fulfill the promise and rendering God’s final judgment of humanity. To his right go those who have earned salvation. To his left are those condemned to eternal damnation.
It is with the figure of Christ in God’s final judgment staring down upon them that the 115 Cardinal Electors will choose a new pope. After having processed up the stairway shown above into the Sistine Chapel, and having processed up this ramp past the transenna or screen (there to separate pilgrims and worshippers from the pope and other members of the clergy) to sit in four rows, two on either side of the chapel.
Once inside, the Latin words extra omnes are pronounced, meaning, “everybody out.”
The conclave then begins. (Conclave is the Anglicized word for the Italian, con chiave, meaning with key. It means the cardinal electors are locked in.)
The White Smoke and the Black Smoke
Most know that when a ballot of the cardinals is taken, those standing on St. Peter’s Square or watching on TV around the world will see either black smoke or white smoke emerge from the chimney that is put in place atop the Sistine Chapel especially for papal conclaves.
Know one is to ever know how any particular cardinal voted. Once ballots are counted, they are threaded onto a string and the string of ballots is thrown into this furnace, also put in place especially for conclaves.
Then, substances are added to affect the color of the resulting smoke up the chimney. Black smoke for no pope, white smoke for Habemus Papam, “We have a pope.”
by Paul L. Gleiser
(ROME) There are 115 cardinals in the Catholic Church under the age of 80 and thus eligible to vote in conclave to elect a new pope. The last of them, Jean-Baptiste Pham Minh Man of Vietnam, arrived in Vatican City yesterday.
The church, so far avoiding setting a date to begin the election process until all cardinals have arrived, may now do so and that decision could come down as early as this afternoon (Friday, March 8.)
Much of the American media covering the conclave is just now arriving, having been delayed by the northeast winter storm that snarled airline schedules. But with cardinals in town and with the American media now in town, it seems that the process can get underway.
Ritual words, uttered in Latin, open and close the secret selection process of the new pope. It starts with “Extra omnes” — or “Everyone out” — expelling all but voting cardinals from the Sistine Chapel where conclave balloting takes place. It ends with “Accepto” — “I accept” — the solemn word the victorious cardinal utters to confirm the judgment of peers who have given him the two-thirds majority needed to become pope. (more…)
Cardinals from around the world gathered Monday inside the Vatican for their first round of meetings before the conclave to elect the next pope, amid scandals inside and out of the Vatican and the continued reverberations of Benedict XVI’s decision to retire.
Cardinals were treated like rock stars as they entered the Vatican on Monday morning, with television crews swarming around the red-capped churchmen and their handlers pushing their way through the crowds.
“A Latin American Pope is possible, everything is possible!” said Portuguese Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins as he entered. (more…)
Pope Benedict XVI is set to retire in just three short days on February 28. That’s going to leave one big gaping hole in the Catholic church, which its cardinals are tasked with filling. So, if you’re thinking about becoming the next pope, there are some hoops you’ll need to jump through first.
For starters, the future pope has to be a man and he has to be Catholic. If you have that down, then you should know you have to be “super holy” and “wicked smart,” as blogger/Reverend James Martin puts it. (more…)