(Vatican City) – White smoke appeared this evening, rising from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel, signifying that a new pope had been elected.
Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina is the new Pope, and takes the name Pope Francis. The announcement was greeted by thunderous cheers from tens of thousands of people packed into St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City. Bergoglio was elected today after receving two-thirds of the vote in the papal conclave.
In his first appearance on the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica, he thanked his new flock and the cardinals for the honor. He also called for prayers for Pope Benedict, who retired weeks ago due to health reasons.
Bergoglio purportedly came in second in the 2005 conclave, according to the only published account of the secret balloting.
Here’s what we know about him so far: Buenos Aires reporter Jose Manuel Rodriguez says the new Pope is very conservative.
Jorge Bergoglio was born in Buenos Aires in 1936, one of the five children of an Italian railway worker and his wife. He received a master’s degree in chemistry at the University of Buenos Aires, then studied at the seminary in Villa Devoto. He entered the Society of Jesus on March 11, 1958. He was ordained to the priesthood on December 13, 1969, by Archbishop Ramón José Castellano. He attended the Philosophical and Theological Faculty of San Miguel, a seminary in San Miguel. Bergoglio attained the position of novice master there and became professor of theology.
He has affirmed church teaching on homosexuality, though he teaches the importance of respecting individuals who are gay or lesbian. He strongly opposed legislation introduced in 2010 by the Argentine Government to allow same-sex marriage, calling it a “real and dire anthropological throwback.”