Today, after two days of discussion, the conclave has chosen Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, of Argentina, the son of an Italian immigrant as Pope Francis, today.
According to news reports, Pope Francis is a humble man, an advocate for the poor, and the first Pope from the Americas. He is said to have modernized Argentina’s conservative Catholic church. He came in second to Pope Benedict seven years ago.
He was born in Buenos Aires on Dec. 17, 1936. He was the Archbishop of Burenos Aires before becoming a Cardinal on Feb. 21, 2001.
His first statement to the anxious crowd in St. Peter’s Square was, “Ladies and gentlemen, good evening.”
In Argentina, he lived a simple life, riding a bus to work, cooking for himself and visiting the poor.
“Bergoglio’s legacy as cardinal includes his efforts to repair the reputation of a church that lost many followers by failing to openly challenge Argentina’s murderous 1976-83 dictatorship. He also worked to recover the church’s traditional political influence in society.” according to one news report.
Read more about the new Pope in this AP/Reuters story.