New Pope Francis Elected: Bishop Reacts
The white smoke appeared on Wednesday, signalling that the conclave had chosen Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio to be the new head of the Catholic Church.
The College of Cardinals at the Vatican in Rome has chosen a new pope. White smoke rose from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel, the traditional signal that the selection has been made.
A Jesuit cardinal, 76, from Buenos Aires is the new pope.
Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the son of an Italian railway worker, becomes the first Jesuit and first Latin American pontiff, according to news reports.
He has taken the name Francis.
The Diocese of Paterson issued an official statement on the newly chosen pontiff from Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli.
"With great joy, we welcome Pope Francis as the chief shepherd of the Church," he said. "As visible head of the Catholic Church, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, now assumes the office once given to Peter by Jesus himself. In electing him to succeed our beloved Pope Benedict XVI, the cardinals have expressed great confidence that his personal gifts and previous service to the Church, both in Argentina and internationally, with God’s grace, will make him the right man for the needs of our day."
According to the bishop, the shortness of the conclave, which began Tuesday, is a sign that the cardinals who chose him have great trust in his ability to be a strong leader in "the ways of truth and morality" for Catholics and the world.
"I was deeply moved by his humility and simplicity in his selection of the name, Francis, by his prayers for his predecessor, Benedict, and by his asking all the people to pray for him as he bowed his head," Serratelli said.
Born Dec. 17, 1936 in Buenos Aires, Bergoglio was ordained for the Jesuits on Dec. 13, 1969, during his theological studies at the Theological Faculty of San Miguel, according to the Vatican’s website.
He was novice master in San Miguel, where he also taught theology. He was Provincial for Argentina (1973-1979) and rector of the Philosophical and Theological Faculty of San Miguel (1980-1986). After completing his doctoral dissertation in Germany, he served as a confessor and spiritual director in Córdoba.
On May 20, 1992, he was appointed titular Bishop of Auca and Auxiliary of Buenos Aires, receiving episcopal consecration that year. On June 3, 1997, he was appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of Buenos Aires and succeeded Cardinal Antonio Quarracino on Feb. 28, 1998. He is also Ordinary for Eastern-rite faithful in Argentina who lack an Ordinary of their own rite.
He served as President of the Bishops' Conference of Argentina from 2005 through 2011.