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Pope Francis I

Jorge Mario Bergoglio was named the 266th pope Wednesday, succeeding Benedict XVI as leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics and inheriting a global church that is growing in some parts of the world but faces serious challenges at home and abroad. Bergoglio, 76, of Argentina, was elected by his fellow cardinals in their fifth round of voting, securing a two-thirds majority just 24 hours after their conclave began in the magnificent precincts of the Sistine Chapel. He took the papal name Francis.



Cardinal from Argentina is now Pope Francis

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina was elected pope Wednesday, becoming the first pontiff from the Americas and the first from outside Europe in more than a millennium. He chose the name Francis, associating himself with the humble 13th-century Italian preacher who lived a life of poverty. Looking stunned, Francis shyly waved to the crowd of tens of thousands of people who gathered in St. Peter's Square for the announcement, marveling that the cardinals needed to look to "the end of the earth" to find a bishop of Rome. In choosing a 76-year-old pope, the cardinals clearly decided that they didn't need a vigorous, young pope who would reign for decades but rather a seasoned, popular and humble pastor who would draw followers to the faith. The cardinal electors overcame deep divisions to select the 266th pontiff in a remarkably fast, five-ballot conclave. Francis asked for prayers for himself, and for retired Pope Benedict XVI, whose surprising resignation paved th…

  • Cardinals select new pope for Catholic church

    VATICAN CITY (AP) — Cardinals elected a new pope to lead the world's 1.2 billion Catholics on Wednesday, overcoming deep divisions to select the 266th pope in a remarkably fast conclave.

  • Black smoke from chapel chimney: No pope yet

    VATICAN CITY (AP) — Black smoke has poured from the Sistine Chapel chimney, signaling that cardinals have failed to elect a pope on their first try.

  • Schedule of voting during the papal conclave

    VATICAN CITY (AP) — The conclave to elect a new pope begins Tuesday at the Vatican. The voting process follows a set ritual every day until the Catholic Church has a new leader. Here is an approximate schedule. There is a six-hour difference between the Valley and Rome. All times listed are CST.

  • History begins now; Cardinals celebrate Mass before entering conclave

    VATICAN CITY (AP) — Cardinals heard a final appeal for unity Tuesday before sequestering themselves in the Sistine Chapel for the conclave to elect the next pope, as they celebrated Mass amid divisions and uncertainty over who will lead the 1.2 billion-strong Catholic Church and tend to its many problems.

  • No favorites as papal conclave nears

    The charismatic appeals and pastoral skills of Pope John Paul II and the organization skills and theological wisdom of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI are both characteristics the future pope should have, said Rev. Jose Rene Angel, a priest with the Catholic Diocese of Brownsville.

  • Pope Benedict XVI bids farewell

    VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI basked in an emotional send-off Wednesday from an estimated 150,000 people at his final general audience in St. Peter's Square, recalling moments of "joy and light" during his papacy and also times of difficulty when "it seemed like the Lord was sleeping."

  • Pope changes conclave rules, allows earlier start

    VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI has changed the rules of the conclave that will elect his successor, allowing cardinals to move up the start date if all of them arrive in Rome before the usual 15-day transition between pontificates.

    Benedict signed a legal document, issued Monday, with some line-by-line changes to the 1996 Vatican law governing the election of a new pope. It is one of his last acts as pope before resigning Thursday.

    The date of the conclave's start is important because Holy Week begins March 24, with Easter Sunday March 31. In order to have a new pope in place for the church's most solemn liturgical period, he would need to be installed by Sunday, March 17 — a tight timeframe if a conclave were to start March 15.

  • Text of pope announcement he will resign Feb. 28

    VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI announced Monday he would resign Feb. 28 because he is simply too old to carry on. Here is the text of his announcement, delivered to cardinals gathered for a ceremony to name three new saints.

  • Pope to resign Feb. 28, says he's too ill

    VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI said Monday he lacks the strength to fulfill his duties and on Feb. 28 will become the first pontiff in 600 years to resign. The announcement sets the stage for a conclave in March to elect a new leader for world's 1 billion Catholics.


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