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March 8, 2021
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Pope Francis I, the new head of the Catholic Church

Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio has greeted tonight (Wednesday) crowds in Rome’s St Peter’s Square after his election as the Catholic Church’s new Pope, the BBC reports. Appearing on a balcony over the square, he asked the faithful to pray for him. Cheers erupted as he gave a blessing.

The first Latin American and the first Jesuit to be pontiff, he will call himself Francis I. Francis I was born on December 17, 1936 is the 266th Pope of the Catholic Church. He chose his regnal name in honor of the Catholic saint Francis of Assisi. He is the first Pope born in the Americas.

Prior to his election, he served as an Argentine cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He has served as the Archbishop of Buenos Aires since 1998. He was elevated to the cardinal in 2001. An hour earlier, white smoke from the Sistine Chapel chimney announced the new Pope’s election.

Cardinal Bergoglio replaces Benedict XVI, who resigned last month at the age of 85, saying he was not strong enough to lead the Church. The 115 cardinals have been in isolation since Tuesday afternoon, and held four inconclusive votes.  At least 77 of them, or two-thirds, would have had to vote for a single candidate for him to be elected Pope

 

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