Religious Leaders React to Pope's Election
The white smoke appeared on Wednesday, signalling that the conclave had chosen Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio to be the new head of the Catholic Church.
White smoke rose above the Sistine Chapel on Wednesday — signaling the election of a new pope — was cause for excitement around the world.
About an hour after the smoke appeared, it was learned Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina was elected to be the new pope. The 76-year-old chose the regal name Francis.
Several local Catholic ministers did not return phone calls seeking comment on the election of the new Pontiff.
"I was very impressed with him, personally. He seems like he's very humble and I think that is the most important trail of the pope," said Rev. Karyn Ratcliffe, pastor of Packanack Community Church. "I think the fact that he is 76 years old is also beneficial. The pope needs to be someone who has lived long enough to learn the lessons that come with wisdom."
The new pope's humility appeared evident just minutes after being elected. He did not sit on the papal throne or wear a red cloak, various news outlets reported. He did not take a private car back to the hotel he was staying at. Instead, he rode the bus back with the cardinals who just elected him.
The pope also bowed after his election to receive a blessing from the people in St. Peter's Square.
"I think that was really brilliant because it illustrated that the pope is not someone who governs over the people but someone who represents the people," Ratcliffe said. "It was a brilliant symbolic gesture because it showed the true role of the pope."
Pope Francis is the first pontiff from the Americas and the first Jesuit pope.
Franci's precedesor, Pope Benedict XVI resigned at the end of February for health reasons, making him the first pope to step down in nearly 600 years.