Argentina’s Jorge Mario Bergoglio elected pope
Argentina’s Jorge Mario Bergoglio has been elected as the new head of the Catholic Church.
Bergoglio took the name Francis I. The 76-year-old previously served as the archbishop of Buenos Aires from 1998 to 2013.
He is the first pope to come from outside of Europe in more than 1,000 years, and the first pope ever from Latin America.
It was widely speculated that the College of Cardinals might select a leader from the developing world on account of the Catholic Church's popularity in those areas.
The Globe and Mail credited Francis with "modernizing" the Argentinean church, while the New York Times emphasized that his selection "sent a powerful mesage that the future of the church lies in the Global South."
The new pope inherits what many view as an aging institution badly in need of reform. Membership is declining in many countries around the world. And the Church continues to struggle with thousands of sexual abuse scandals, an issue that will likely occupy much of Francis’s time and energy while in office.
Both Francis's mother and father were Italian. He was born in India, educated in Germany, and settled in Argentina, which he regards as his homeland.
The new pope has a long record opposing abortion, euthanasia, and homosexuality. As recently as July 2010, he described an Argentinean senate vote on gay marriage as a “destructive attack on God’s plan.”
Francis was elected on the second day of the Papal Conclave on the College's fifth ballot. It was a relatively-quick vote, indicating that Francis enjoys a wide base of support among the cardinals.