At seven o’clock white smoke finally appeared above the chimney of the Sistene Chapel. The world’s cardinals have finally reached a decision! The 76-year old Argentinian Jorge Mario Bergoglio will be named from now on: Pope Francesco I.
In the days before the decision fell, there were rumors about a Brazilian or a Milanese candidate so this choice tonight came as a surprise to many. It’s also the first time in more than a thousand years that a non-European pope is elected! He even made a small joke about his election, saying that this time they choose someone from very far away.
Around hundred thousand people were a direct witness to the event on Saint Peter’s Square in Rome. After saying a small prayer for his predecessor Benedictus XVI, he focused on the many Catholics on Saint Peter’s Square and asked them a favor: to pray for him and to give him strength as the new pope. After the ceremony the square bursted out in tears, prayers, cries and laughter. And the words “Viva il Papa” and “Habemus papam!” were heard all over the square.
Many hope that the new pope will be capable of bringing a certain serenity for the Catholic world. Especially in this difficult period both in the world as well as within the Church itself.