The Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio have been named as the next Pope, the leader of the Catholic Church in Rome. Named Pope Francis he briefly addressed the crowd of tens of thousand gathered below his balcony at St. Peter’s Basilica, at the Vatican.
Pope Francis was named as the succesor to Pope Benedict XVI with at least 77 of the 115 cardinals in the conclave, which only lasted one day.
Bergoglio is the first pope from South America and the third straight non-Italian pope.
The decision, made by the gathering of 115 Cardinals from around the world, including Irish Americans – New York’s Timothy Dolan, Boston’s Sean O’Malley, and LA’s Roger Mahony and Irish Primate Sean Brady – only entered conclave on March 12.
The new pope will reveal himself to the people of Rome, from his balcony at St. Peter’s Bascilica on Wednesday evening.
Both Dolan and O’Malley has been mentioned a popular options for the position. However, the post the new pope inherits will be a difficult one as the Catholic Church wrestes with challenges including a priest shortage, growing competition from evangelical Churches, the sexual abuse crisis and governing the Vatican itself.
The previous Pope, Benedict XVI, Joseph Ratzinger, stepped down from his eight-year tenure last month announcing he was no longer up to the mental and physical rigors of the job. He was the first pope in 598 years to resign.