It took one hour before the thousands of people at St Peter's Square, as well as the rest of the 7 billion global population, to get to know the identity of the heir to the throne of St Peter the Apostle, the 266th pope and successor of Benedict XVI. And when he came out at the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica wearing the customary white attire befit for a pope, lo and behold, it was Jorge Mario Bergoglio, former cardinal of Argentina, now addressed as Pope Francis. Although he was among the list of papabiles, he was a no contender among the top bets included at Paddy Maker.
The revelation was every inch a surprise perhaps to the majority, but not to the experts and followers of the Roman Catholic faith. For after all, the formal cardinal was the guy number two that held the most number of votes in the 2005 papal conclave, where former Cardinal Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger, now resigned Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, won the election. To see him become pope, was so to speak, just a matter of time.
The 266th heir to St Peter the Apostle, Pope Francis
It is now an hour after midnight, Vatican time. The happy pandemonium at St Peter's square may have already subsided, but the world's curiosity over the new Pope Francis has just started.
A few fast facts about Pope Francis:
1). Although born in Argentina, Pope Francis is of Italian lineage because his parents were just immigrants to the South American country;
2). He is the first pope from the Jesuit order;
3). The first pope from Argentina as well as the first from the Americas, the New World and the Southern Hemisphere;
4). The first pope to have taken an unused papal name, after St Francis of Assisi;
5). Also the first non-European pope in 1,272 years (by nationality, not by blood);
Former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina is now Pope Francis, head of the Catholic Church and sovereign ruler of the Vatican City State
6). He was born on December 17, 1936, making him 76 at the time he accepted his papal responsibility;
7). Has only one lung;
8). Studied and has a master's degree in Chemistry before pursuing his priestly passions;
9). He was made cardinal by Pope John Paul II in 2001;
10). During the 2005 papal conclave, he held the second most number of votes, closely next to now retired Benedict XVI. But he made an emotional plea to his fellow cardinal brothers not to vote for him.
Presumably this time, Pope Francis is ready to take on the task and battle head on the gazillion problems that face the Roman Catholic church.
Then Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, in a meeting with Argentine president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner
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