After a week of intense meetings of deliberation and four to five votes, the 115 cardinals have selected a new pope. A surge of people have flowed into the Sistine Chapel Square to welcome Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who will go by the name Pope Francis. Bergoglio is 76 years old and is from Argentina. He is the first non-European pope in Roman Catholic history. He was not one of the predicted front-runners.
The white smoke came after only the second day — a quick turnaround compared to years ago when it took the cardinals three years to choose a new pope.
“It was like waiting for the birth of a baby, only better,” said a Roman man to the New York Times.
According to CNN, there were 12 front runners for the position of the pope: four Italian, two Brazilian, one American, one Hungarian, one Argentine, one Austrian, one Filipino and one Ghanaian.
Pope Francis was announced after a process he had to complete. He was first fitted to his new robes and then entered the Chapel again for a prayer with the cardinals. The cardinals then congratulated him and promised their obedience to him. Next, the pope re-entered the Chapel to have a moment of private prayer. The pope was then announced by proto-deacon Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran on the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica.