White smoke: New pope chosen, Pope Francis

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Pope Francis Jorge Bergoglio
Photo Caption: Wikipedia

The white smoke came billowing from the chimney of the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel announcing to the world the 266th Bishop of Rome, a new pope, had been chosen.Thousands and thousands of people cheered and wept and sang as the bells rang in Vatican City confirming the selection of the new pontiff. The Swiss Guard marched into position as we waited to welcome the new Holy Father, the Vicar of Christ.

After the fifth vote Wednesday, Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, accepted his new position leading the 1.2 billion Catholics in the world, and the cardinals have sworn their obedience to him.

He will now rule as Pope Francis (Francisco) I, after St. Francis of Assisi.

In February, Pope Benedict XVI, 85, became the first pope to resign in nearly 600 years. He was too ill to continue leading the Catholic Church.

The Vatican conclave to select a new pope began Tuesday with 115 cardinals sequestering themselves from the world. Seventy-seven votes were needed to elect the new pope.

Fox News reported the interesting process of voting:

Conclave voting entails each cardinal writing his choice on a rectangular piece of paper inscribed with the words “Eligo in summen pontificem” — Latin for “I elect as Supreme Pontiff.”

Holding the folded ballot up in the air, each cardinal approaches the altar and places it on a saucer, before tipping it into an oval urn, as he intones these words: “I call as my witness, Christ the Lord, who will be my judge that my vote is given to the one who, before God, I think should be elected.”

After the votes are counted, and the outcomes announced, the papers are bound together with a needle and thread, each ballot pierced through the word “Eligo.” The ballots are then placed in a cast-iron stove and burned with a special chemical.

Habemus Papam! We have a pope! Viva il Papa!

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