Re: White smoke, new Pope
The Catholic Church has elected a new pope: Argentinian Jorge Mario Bergoglio
White smoke billowed from the Sistine Chapel chimney and bells rang across Rome on Wednesday evening, indicating a new leader has been chosen for the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.
White smoke billows from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel, meaning Roman Catholic cardinals have elected a pope in their fifth round of balloting, at the Vatican, Wednesday, March 13, 2013.
The new pope has not yet been identified. But he is expected to appear on the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica within the hour before throngs of faithful waiting to witness the first new pontiff in eight years, and the 266th pontiff in the 2,000-year history of the church.
The pope was elected on the fifth ballot in a remarkably quick conclave -- given that there was no clear frontrunner going in. The winner must receive 77 votes, or two-thirds of the support of the 115 voting cardinals.
A sodden but jubilant crowd of tens of thousands were cheering in St. Peter's Square after braving pouring rain while watching the Sistine Chapel chimney intently for signs of white smoke. People were waving flags, chanting "viva la pappa," some in the crowd having sprinted to the square from all over the city after abandoning cars and motorcycles to be there for this historic moment.
A church official is expected to announce "Habemus Papum" -- "We have a pope" -- and give the name of the new pope in Latin.
While there was no clear frontrunner, names mentioned most often as top candidates for pope include:
Cardinal Angelo Scola, the archbishop of Milan;
Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the Canadian head of the Vatican's important bishops' office; and
Brazilian Cardinal Odilo Scherer, who is well-regarded among the Vatican bureaucracy
Vatican expert Gerard O’Connell says it’s expected to take about 40 minutes before we find out who the pope is. "The big question is have they chosen a (European) or have they crossed the Atlantic for the first time in history?"
O'Connell said the first person who will appear on the balcony overlooking the square will be French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran -- the cardinal protodeacon, who will confirm a new pope has been chosen. Tauran is expected to first announce the birth name of the new pope, followed by the name he has chosen to identify himself as.
Although there could be a twist: in the unlikely event Tauran has been elected pope -- then someone else will make the announcement, said O'Connell.
The conclave was called after Pope Benedict XVI resigned last month, throwing the church into turmoil and exposing divisions among cardinals tasked with finding a leader to clean up a Vatican bureaucracy widely seen as corrupt. The cardinals were also in search of a spiritual guide and a booster who could revive Catholicism in a time of growing secularism.
“I think (if) you look down here, the church has many problems -- but you see the immense unity and joy this kind of an event brings," said O'Connell.
"This event unifies, it brings people together; people are happy, you see the joy in the crowd and we will see perhaps a quarter million people before he comes to the balcony because people are coming in from all over the city.”
Meanwhile, the Twitter account belonging to @Pontifex no longer reads "sede vacante" -- or "seat vacant" -- although there have been no new tweets yet.
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