March 13th, 2013
06:25 PM ET

Argentina's Bergoglio becomes Pope Francis

[Updated at 6:25 p.m. ET] That will wrap up our live blog of Francis' debut. For more coverage, check out the links above and read our full story.

[Updated at 5:52 p.m. ET] When Pope Francis is formally installed in a Mass later this month, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will be there, leading the U.S. delegation to the event.

Biden is the first Roman Catholic to serve as vice president.

Meanwhile, Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has congratulated Pope Francis - a native Argentine - and expressed hope that he will work toward justice, equality and peace for all.

As we noted earlier, the new pope has clashed with the Argentine government over his opposition to gay marriage and free distribution of contraceptives.

A photo from earlier tonight: People react as newly elected Pope Francis appears on the central balcony of St Peter's Basilica.

[Updated at 5:33 p.m. ET] We know a little more about what Pope Francis will be doing tomorrow: He and the cardinals will hold a Mass in the Sistine Chapel at 5 p.m. local time (noon ET), Vatican spokesman the Rev. Tom Rosica told CNN.

[Updated at 5:16 p.m. ET] A Vatican spokesman says Francis will be a reformer, and will call the church "back to basics."

"He knows the Curia, he's been extremely critical of the mess here," the Rev. Tom Rosica said, referring to the Vatican bureaucracy.

[Updated at 5:07 p.m. ET] Here's something that a pope has never had the chance to do before today: Shortly after Francis was elected, he placed a phone call to his predecessor, Benedict XVI, who has been staying at a papal retreat at Italy's Castel Gandolfo since he resigned February 28.

Benedict, 85, was the first pope to resign in hundreds of years.

News of the phone call came from the Rev. Tom Rosica, a Vatican spokesman.

[Updated at 4:53 p.m. ET] We've just been given confirmation about which Francis the new pope is honoring in his choice of name.

The new pope took the name Francis in honor of St. Francis of Assisi because he is a lover of the poor, Vatican spokesman the Rev. Tom Rosica told CNN.

Also, the new pope should be known as Pope Francis, not Pope Francis I, Rosica said.

[Updated at 4:50 p.m. ET] Let's take a look at what might be next for Pope Francis:

Before Francis was elected, Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said that the new pope will “very probably” say Mass this Sunday at St. Peter’s and do the traditional Angelus blessing, Lombardi said before the election.

It will take several days before there is an installation Mass, because it will take time for world leaders to arrive, Lombardi had said.

[Updated at 4:45 p.m. ET] U.S. President Barack Obama has weighed in.

Obama offered his prayers and "warm wishes" Wednesday to newly elected Pope Francis. Obama called him "a champion of the poor and the most vulnerable among us," and also said his election as "the first pope from the Americas ... speaks to the strength and vitality of (that) region."

[Updated at 4:44 p.m. ET] The pope's election has caught the attention of the Internet crowd, to put it lightly. Facebook says that its users' top terms about 70 minutes ago were:

1) Pope; 2) Jorge Bergoglio; 3) Vatican; 4) White smoke; 5) Cardinal; 6) Catholic; 7) Decision; and 8) Papal.

[Updated at 4:31 p.m. ET] Latin Americans in St. Peter's Square are thrilled.

"As a youth, and as a Catholic student, and as a Mexican, I am absolutely overwhelmed with emotion (at) the fact that we have a new pope that will represent that part of the (world)," a woman from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, told CNN. "That is something very exciting. I feel that Mexico has been a country that has suffered a lot, and so has Latin America, but it is a people that has always put trust in God, so it is absolutely wonderful to represent our part of the world this time around."

Beside her, a woman from Mexico City said her heart jumped when she heard the announcement that a pope had been picked.

"I'm so excited," she said. "It's a reason of being proud tonight, because Latin America is a very important Catholic area and now it's going to be totally represented here, so I'm so proud and I'm so happy today. ... It's going to help a lot, a Latin American pope, it's going to help. It's going to rebuild many things, and it's a new start."

Check out more Latin American reaction here.

[Updated at 4:22 p.m. ET] Let's take a look at some reaction to Francis' election. Here's what Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York - by some accounts a pre-conclave contender for the papacy - had to say, shortly after he participated in the conclave:

“Pope Francis I stands as the figure of unity for all Catholics wherever they reside," Dolan said in a statement released by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. “Intense prayer from all around the world surrounded the election of Pope Francis I. The bishops of the United States thank God for the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the inspired choice of the College of Cardinals.”

And the Church of England, the country's official church denomination, offered a prayer Wednesday for the newly elected pope.

"Guide him by by your spirit, give him grace to lead people in prayer and zeal, and to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, your son our Lord," the prayer read.

[Updated at 4:08 p.m. ET] CNN Vatican expert John Allen has reported previously, for the National Catholic Reporter, that the new pope may have been the runner-up in the 2005 election that saw Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger become Benedict XVI. Allen noted that there's no official account of that election - it is officially secret, after all - but various reports had Bergoglio coming in second in 2005.

Pope Francis asked the crowd in St. Peter's Square to pray for him. "Before I give you a blessing, I ask you for a favor - I want you to bless me," he said.

[Updated at 3:51 p.m. ET] Choosing the name Francis is powerful and ground-breaking, CNN Vatican expert John Allen says.

As noted earlier, this is the first Pope Francis. Also, the name parallels one of the most venerated figures in the Roman Catholic Church, St. Francis of Assisi.

Allen described the name of Pope Francis as "the most stunning" choice and "precedent shattering."

"There are cornerstone figures in Catholicism" such as St. Francis, Allen said. Figures of such stature as St. Francis seem "irrepeatable - that there can be only one Francis," Allen added.

Read more about the new name, from CNN's Michael Martinez.

[Updated at 3:48 p.m. ET] The pope's Twitter account is active once again.

Moments after the new Pope Francis addressed the Vatican City crowd, a message on the pope's Twitter account - which had been dormant since Benedict XVI stepped down - said, "Habemus Papam Franciscum."

That translates, from Latin, as, "We have Pope Francis."

https://twitter.com/Pontifex/status/311922995633455104

[Updated at 3:42 p.m. ET] After blessing the crowd, Pope Francis re-entered the basilica.

Here is video of his first public appearance as pope:

[Updated at 3:33 p.m. ET] The blessing is over, and the crowd roars.

Here's more about Pope Francis, the former Cardinal Bergoglio of Argentina: He is 76, and is considered a straight-shooter who calls things as he sees them, and a follower of the church's most conservative wing. He is a former archbishop of Buenos Aires.

He has clashed with the government of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner over his opposition to gay marriage and free distribution of contraceptives.

Besides being the first non-European pope in the modern era, the first South American pope and the third straight non-Italian pope, he also is the first Pope Francis.

[Updated at 3:30 p.m. ET] Pope Francis has offered his blessing "to you and to the whole world." This is known as the "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and the world) blessing.

[Updated at 3:29 p.m. ET] Pope Francis says he will shortly offer his blessing, but now he's asking the crowd to have a moment of silence to pray for him.

[Updated at 3:27 p.m. ET] Pope Francis says from the balcony (according to an English translation):

"As you know, the duty of the conclave was to appoint a bishop of Rome. It seems to me that my brother cardinals have chosen one who is from far away, but here I am.

"I would like to thank you for your embrace, also to ... the bishops, thank you very much.

"First and foremost, I would like to pray for our emeritus pope, Benedict XVI. Let us pray all of us together … so that he's blessed by the lord and guarded."

Pope Francis then said the Lord's Prayer.

[Updated at 3:23 p.m. ET] Bergoglio, the new pope, has chosen the name Francis, according to Vatican Radio. He's now appearing on the balcony.

[Updated at 3:20 p.m. ET] Bergoglio is the first pope from outside of Europe in the modern era, the first South American pope, and the third straight non-Italian pope.

(Correction notice: This post initially said that Bergoglio is the first non-European pope. We've corrected that to say he's the first non-European pope in the modern era.)

[Updated at 3:15 p.m. ET] And the new pope is: Argentina's Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio.

[Updated at 3:12 p.m. ET] The protodeacon is on the balcony, making the announcement.

[Updated at 3:08 p.m. ET] It is taking longer for the new pope to appear after the white smoke this year than it did for Benedict XVI to appear after his election in 2005. But, an extra step has been added this time - the new pope has been allowed to pray alone in the Pauline Chapel before he appears on the balcony.

That could account for at least some of the difference.

[Updated at 3:03 p.m. ET] It will be interesting to learn not only who the new pope is, but also what name he has chosen for himself. Popes often take a regnal name (like Benedict) that a previous pope used, and it generally is meant to point to a tone that the new pontiff wants to set, CNN senior Vatican analyst John Allen says.

For example, Pius XII, who served from 1939 to 1958, was very conservative, eminent Italian church historian Alberto Melloni told CNN. So, "if the new pope was to call himself Pius XIII, it would be a very ideological choice," he said.

Read more about what a pope's chosen name indicates, from CNN's Laura Smith-Spark.

[Updated at 2:48 p.m. ET] Here's what we're going to hear from the cardinal who will introduce the new pope:

"Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum: Habemus Papam! Eminentissimum ac Reverendissimum Dominum, Dominum (FIRST NAME OF NEW POPE) Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae Cardinalem (LAST NAME OF NEW POPE) qui sibi nomen imposuit (POPE’S NEW NAME)."

Roughly translated:

"I announce to you a great joy: We have a pope! The eminent and most reverend lord, Lord (FIRST NAME OF NEW POPE), Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church (LAST NAME OF NEW POPE), who has taken the name (POPE'S NEW NAME)."

[Updated at 2:41 p.m. ET] CNN senior Vatican analyst John Allen, on the moment that we will see the pope on the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica: "First impressions last. ... It will be very interesting to see how the new pope comports himself here tonight and makes his introduction."

[Updated at 2:38 p.m. ET] It shouldn't be long before we find out who the new pope is. When Benedict XVI was elected in 2005, about 45 minutes passed between the appearance of the white smoke and the appearance of the cardinal who introduced the new pope.

Today, the smoke appeared just after 2 p.m. ET (7 p.m. in the Vatican).

[Updated at 2:30 p.m. ET] The crowd at St. Peter's Square continues to swell. "People are literally running up the block (so they can see the pope) when he comes out on the balcony for the first time," CNN's Anderson Cooper reports from the Vatican.

[Updated at 2:25 p.m. ET] From CNN's Jim Bittermann at the Vatican: The crowd waiting for the new pope represents all sorts of nationalities - "everybody from around the world."

"You see a lot of religious folks are here, different orders of nuns and priests, packing in all afternoon," as well as tourists, he said. "There are more people just as I'm speaking. All of the sudden there's been a surge of people coming in."

[Updated at 2:23 p.m. ET] Like the one in which Benedict XVI was chosen in 2005, this election didn't take long. The white smoke comes on just the conclave's second day.

We have a few steps to take before we learn who the new pope is. Here's what we've been told will happen next:

- The new pope will leave the Sistine Chapel to put on his papal robes, then re-enter the chapel for prayer with the cardinals.

- The cardinals will then line up to congratulate the new pope and promise their obedience to him.

- The pope will then go back to Pauline Chapel to pray for a few moments.

- Only then will the pope prepare to reveal himself to the public. At the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica, proto-deacon Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran (assuming Tauran himself wasn't elected) will appear and announce the new pope's old name, and the name he will be known as from now on.

- The pope will then appear on the balcony.

[Posted at 2:09 p.m. ET] White smoke above the Sistine Chapel have made it official: The Roman Catholic Church has a new pope.

Bells are ringing at the Vatican, and thousands of people gathered in the square are cheering.

We'll find out in the minutes to come who the new pope is. Stay with us as we find out.

soundoff (1,077 Responses)
  1. Smoon

    Honestly, there is nothing special about the newly elected Pope other than he's white, champion of inequality, a hypocrite of the Word, and "gasp" advanced age. He is just like any other human being that eats, poops, and sleeps.

    March 13, 2013 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wesley

      Don't worry, you're not special either.

      March 13, 2013 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pike

      I'll second that.

      March 13, 2013 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Since I do not know "Swoon," I will not speculate on whether he is special. Instead, I will acknowledge the truth of what he said which is that this new pope is a member of a criminal organization, his fancy robe notwithstanding.

      March 13, 2013 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pike

      Wow...Thats a "bold" statement from behind your little keyboard Bill. I'm really "impressed" .

      March 13, 2013 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tyrone

      Yep, an important guy like Bill is going to make the Yakuza jealous.

      March 13, 2013 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Pike: A personal attack on me does not negate what I said about the Church. In fact, it indicates to me that you are unable to defend the Church.

      March 13, 2013 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Donnie

      The Church has made good on its damages .. How about the pervs in your city Bill?

      March 13, 2013 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pike

      Whoops looks like Bill ran outta courage to defend his stupid position.

      March 27, 2013 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Viz

    Now back to making photocopies you lazy person.

    March 13, 2013 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  3. aterces

    Argentinian????? Come on!!!!

    March 13, 2013 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Keeping Them Happy

      Yes, Argentinian, therefore Latin! It keeps the Italians (who are also Latins) happy to elect another Latin to this high office!

      March 13, 2013 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ShawnDH

    The rest of those crusty old queens can sashya away.

    March 13, 2013 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  5. cdub2k

    In other news the Detroit Lions signed former Heisman vacated winner Reggie Bush.
    Reggie Bush becomes the first Heisman trophy vacated winner to play for the Miami Dolphins and the Detroit Lions.
    True Story

    March 13, 2013 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Pander Bear

    At 76 years old, does he have that much time to make an impact? JP2 was 58 when he was elected. Benedict was 78.

    March 13, 2013 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • sc4474747

      He's too OLD.

      March 13, 2013 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Hope

    This is a spectacular time for the world. Peace to the world and love each other.

    March 13, 2013 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Frank1st

    He'll be dead soon

    March 13, 2013 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Diego

    CNN dropped the ball on the announcement for new pope from Argentina. Next time, have someone handy that understands Latin. The other networks understood right away. You let me down. #PopeFrancis

    March 13, 2013 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  10. fleas

    Since the last pope couldn't finish the job doesn't that mean he was rejected by god???

    This whole thing is a joke.

    March 13, 2013 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  11. stephennowlin

    I'm as struck by the absurdity of CNN's uber-coverage of this made-up spectacle, as I am by the silliness of the event itself. Don't get me wrong – I like history and respect the historical tradition of selecting a Pope, and I don't really mind all the ritual. Lotsa Catholics watching TV – I understand.

    But from the media's point of view, where's there a little healthy criticality and evidence of some proportion? The media reports the Curiosity rover's discovery of life-potentiality on Mars and the reaffirmation of a religion based on fantasy human origins in almost the same breath – as if the scale of incompatible cosmologies they imply doesn't even exist! THAT's the real story they should be focusing on (or at least mentioning)!

    At the very least some commentator should make fun of the circusy vestments, or pity the pathetic role of the Vatican PR preson being relegated to sending out smoke-signal press releases . . .

    March 13, 2013 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Pike

    You saw your reflection Shawn?

    March 13, 2013 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  13. RossC

    Does he recognise the right to self determination of the Falkland Islanders?

    March 13, 2013 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paula

      he is Argentinian, what questions do you have? I know that, 'cause I'm argentinian

      March 13, 2013 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  14. SPINJ

    Are the only candidates considered for the Papacy over 60? Why does this position require someone so old? The new Pope is 76..76. I made a bet with my wife that he will be over 73. I just think that is too old, their ideas will always be old and those who worship the Pope will be receiving the same message that they have been getting. All I'm trying to say is, why not chose someone younger who can relate to today's issues?

    March 13, 2013 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  15. kate

    I'm a bit sad that the new pope is older, I was hoping for a younger pope that would be able to relate to an ever-changing church and culture. Mreh.

    March 13, 2013 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
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