Mar 13, 2013

The New Pope: Jorge Mario Bergoglio Age

The New Pope: Jorge Mario Bergoglio Age
With a puff of white smoke from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel and to the cheers of thousands of rain-soaked faithful, a gathering of Catholic cardinals picked a new pope from among their midst on Wednesday — choosing the cardinal from Argentina, the first South American to ever lead the church.

The new pope, 76, Jorge Mario Bergoglio (pronounced Ber-GOAL-io) will be called Francis, the 266th pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church. He is also the first non-European leader of the church in more than 1,000 years.

Francis, who had been the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, is the first pope not born in Europe since Columbus alighted in the New World. In choosing him, the cardinals sent a powerful message that the future of the Church lies in the Global South, home to the bulk of the world’s Catholics.

“I would like to thank you for your embrace,” said the new pope, dressed in white, speaking from the white balcony on St. Peter’s Basilica as thousands of the faithful cheered joyously below. “My brother cardinals have chosen one who is from far away, but here I am.”

Speaking in Italian as he blessed the faithful, Francis wished them “good night, and have a good rest.”

“Habemus papam!,” members of the crowd shouted in Latin, waving umbrellas and flags. “We have a pope!” Others cried “Viva il Papa!”

“It was like waiting for the birth of a baby, only better, " said a Roman man. A child sitting atop his father’s shoulders waved a crucifix.

Formerly the head of the church’s influential Jesuit order, Francis is known as a humble man who led an austere life in Buenos Aires. He was born to Italian immigrant parents and was raised in the Argentine capital.

The new pope inherits a church wrestling with an array of challenges that intensified during his predecessor, Benedict XVI — from a priest shortage and growing competition from evangelical churches in the Southern Hemisphere, to a sexual abuse crisis that has undermined the church’s moral authority in the West, to difficulties governing the Vatican itself.

Read More:nytimes