March 14, 2013 – The Catholic Church has a new leader, and his name is Jorje Mario Bergoglio!
Yesterday, after two votes, the cardinals were able to reach an agreement on the new leader at about 7:00 p.m. local time. Bergoglio emerged on the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica at around 8:10 p.m. local time and modestly waved to hundreds of thousands of peoples flooding St. Peter's square and the surrounding side streets. The crowd chanted "Viva il Papa" (Long live the Pope) and roared in excitement once he appeared on the balcony.
Bergoglio is the first pope to be elected from the Americas and is the first pope in 1,000 years that is not European. He chose the name Francis and will be known as Pope Francis I.
He was born in Buenos Aires in 1936 to Italian parents who immigrated to Argentina. His father was a railway worker, his mother was a housewife, and he had four other siblings. There are reports that Bergoglio only has one lung due to a serious infection he suffered as a teenager, but that he has been in good health since it was removed.
Bergoglio, 76, is known for being humble, and down to Earth; he does not take limos to get around, lives in a small apartment, cooks his own meals, and famously criticized the Catholic Church for not wanting to baptize children who were born from unmarried parents. He has been a great advocate for the slums of Argentina and has spent a lot of time offering his support to the Argentinean poor.
Bergoglio actually originally wanted to become a chemist but changed his mind and became a priest and entered the Society of Jesus in 1958. He was named the auxiliary bishop of Buenos Aires in 1992 and was appointed to cardinal by Pope John Paul II in 2001. He is rumoured to have been the runner-up during the 2005 papal election, in which Pope Benedict XVI was chosen.
Congratulations, Pope Francis I!