White smoke has ascended from atop the Sistine Chapel, marking the election of a new leader for the Roman Catholic Church. After two days of deliberation, the 115-cardinal conclave has chosen Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 77, former Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina the new Pope. Pope Francis I, as he will be known, is the first chosen from outside of Europe and the first from Latin America, the area of the world where the church's membership is strongest.
Francis I addressed the thousands outside St. Peter's Basilica who waited in the rain in anticipating the arrival of the new Vicar of Christ, asking them to pray for him and the world as he settles into his position amid a worldwide sexual abuse scandal, diminishing numbers in Europe and North America, and internal strife in the church.
There is speculation that this turmoil in the Catholic church is the reason Pope Francis' predecessor Benedict XVI resigned in late February, the first do to so in almost 600 years.
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