- Grim parody of a golden age
The jihadist group now calling itself the Islamic State, which has terrorised religious minorities in Syria and Iraq, has declared its intention to restore the caliphate. Yet the extremists’ aims are remote from those of earlier Islamic rulers
- Home News
- World News
- Parish Practice
- Letters Extra
- The living Spirit
- Charity to support crew of ferry where illegal migrants were discovered
- Catholic Church in India hits out at potential communion wine ban
- Leadership Conference of Women Religious avoids confrontation at annual meeting in US
- Francis will travel to Tamil territory next year when he becomes first Pope to visit Sri Lanka
- Stop scapegoating Muslims: social disaffection has many causes, and they won’t be solved by blunt Government intervention Francis Davis
- Pope Francis has transformed the Church – it’s time the Church stopped stifling groups who embrace that transformation Chris McDonnell
- Francis' support for Romero cause is exciting because of its urgency - could he be beatified by end of 2015? Julian Filochowski in El Salvador
Pope Francis' election
Francis – a Pope of firsts
8 April 2013, 9:00
Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who took the name Pope Francis, became the first Argentine pope and the first from outside Europe for over 1,000 years when he was elected pope on Wednesday 13 March 2013. This is how The Tablet reported the moment the white smoke appeared.
There was a long delay between the white smoke gushing from the comignolo, the chimney of the Sistine Chapel, before the world learned the name of the new pope. During this time it is likely that he was praying.
Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran appeared first on the balcony to announce, in Latin, that a pope had been elected. He said that it was Cardinal Bergoglio and that he would take the name Francis.
Though most people were caught by surprise, Pope Francis was greeted with huge cheers from thousands of people from across the world when he stepped onto the Vatican balcony a few moments later. His first words, which he spoke in Italian, were 'Brothers and Sisters, Good Evening'.
Once white smoke appeared from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel the crowd erupted into cheers and soon after, the great bells of St Peter's Basilica began to toll.
Dozens of people from all over the world waved flags and banners suddenly appeared from the crowd that read 'Viva il papa', 'Long live the Pope!' The rain that had drenched the square stopped momentarily.
It took five ballots for the new pope to gain the two-thirds plus one majority needed to become elected.
Thousands of tourists and pilgrims, huddled beneath umbrellas, braved the rain to stand and await news from the conclave. A number of those in the square are in Rome on pre-planned pilgrimages which coincided with the papal interregnum.
The new Pope is widely believed to have been a runner-up in the last conclave. He has been a member of the Congregation of Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, the Congregation for the Clergy, the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. He has also been on the Pontifical Council for the Family and the Pontifical Commission for Latin America and he is a former Jesuit provincial in Argentina.
Pope Francis was born in Buenos Aires and he has also lived in Germany and Spain. His parents were working-class Italians, who had five children. His father worked on the railways in Argentina.
In 2005 Pope Benedict XVI was elected after just four ballots while John Paul II, widely considered a surprise pope, was elected after eight ballots in 1978.
Read The Tablet's coverage of Benedict XVI's shock resignation and the conclave that followed.