Yesterday, white smoke rose from the Sistine Chapel chimney as the cardinals had finally elected a new pope, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76 years old. The new pope election is historical for many reasons: He is the first pope from South America, also the first pope to not be European for over 1,200 years, and the first Jesuit to become pope. In choosing a South American pope the Catholic Church is trying to appeal to the part of the world where the majority of their followers are. Bergoglio is from Argentina, his parents are Italian immigrants, he had been the archbishop of Buenos Aires, and he was also known as being a strong voice for the poor. His papal name will be Pope Francis.
The last pope, Benedict XVI, resigned last month becoming the first pope to resign in almost 600 years. Pope Francis’ first act as the new pope was to call his predecessor and pray for him. According to some who knew him, Bergoglio was a very simple man. He lived in a quaint apartment is Buenos Aires, took the bus to work, and cooked his own meals. He is doctrinally conservative; he opposes abortion, gay marriage, liberation theology, and even the ordination of women. In 2010, he called an Argentine law that would legalize same-sex marriage and adoption a “war against God.”
Read more: nytimes.com