VATICAN CITY (AP) — Argentine Jorge Bergoglio was elected pope Wednesday and chose the papal name Francis, becoming first pontiff from the Americas and the first from outside Europe in more than a millennium.
A stunned-looking Bergoglio shyly waved to the crowd of tens of thousands of people who gathered in St. Peter’s Square, marveling that the cardinals had had to look to “the end of the earth” to find a bishop of Rome.
He asked for prayers for himself, and for retired Pope Benedict XVI, whose stunning resignation paved the way for the tumultuous conclave that brought the first Jesuit to the papacy. The cardinal electors overcame deep divisions to select the 266th pontiff in a remarkably fast conclave.
Bergoglio had reportedly finished second in the 2005 conclave that produced Benedict – who last month became the first pope to resign in 600 years.
Read more from The Associated Press.
I am a former Catholic who attended public school to 6th grade, recommitted my life to Christ at 17 and have become a presbyterian now in my early 50s. Even as a former Catholic I am excited that the cardinals have elected someone from humble background and who espouses humility (according to media he has taken public transportation and chose to live in meager residences, chosing not to live in the more prestigious abode of former (Buenos Aires) Argentinian Cardinals. I think this is a wise choice and look forward to learning more of his particular philosophies and writings. I think that his choice of a papal name Francis, never before chosen, yet a beloved saint that cared for the poor and opressed, is (as a few commentators have mentioned) representative of a new beginning/trajectory in the 21st century for the Catholic Church and that he will be a foot soldier for evangelism in these times of brokenness and deep divisions not only in the church but in numerous other Christian faiths and across religions. I read so many critical and hate-filled messages on some of the media blogs about the CC and their “blind eye” toward rampant child abuse, but feel that while some of the regional churches (in America and elsewhere) may not have addressed this to their best aility or may have done more harm than good in trying to resolve these horrors, we can’t blame the papacy for the current situation. This is an enormous global religion that needs to marshall untold laypersons and priests to move beyond what has happened in the last several decades. At least there are significant efforts to bring these terrible cases of abuse to light and punish the perpetrators. I don’t think it does anyone or all believers any good to rehash and endlessly blame and ridicule the CC. Of course rape, pedephilia and incest and sexual abuse has occurred throughout the world for centuries in society and has been covered up by society, secular courts, religions etc. We should work toward a brotherhood of believers that can show forgiveness and move toward ridding the church of these criminals so that such evangilism can succeed and Christ’s followers can prepare for his second coming.
Excuse me I just realized I meant (above) attended private Catholic school to 6th grade, not public.