[Fr. Peduru Jeevaraj]
The 266th Successor of St. Peter has been announced by the senior cardinal deacon on the balcony in Vatican City: It is Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, who had been serving as the archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina. The â€œsuccessorâ€ of the apostle Peter and â€œthe vicar of Christâ€ will go by the name of Pope Francis. The College of Cardinals made history on Wednesday by selection a non-European as the head of the Catholic Church.
He was ordained a priest of the Society of Jesus, On Dec. 13, 1969.On 20 May 1992, John Paul II appointed him titular Bishop of Auca and Auxiliary of Buenos Aires. On 3 June 1997 he was appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of Buenos Aires and succeeded Cardinal Antonio Quarracino on 28 February 1998.
He was Adjunct Relator General of the 10th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, October 2001.He served as President of the Bishops' Conference of Argentina from 8 November 2005 until 8 November 2011.
He was created and proclaimed Cardinal by Blessed John Paul II in the consistory of 21 February 2001, of the Title of S. Roberto Bellarmino.
Cardinal Bergoglio, a Jesuit intellectual who reportedly eschews the ornate trappings of church power â€“ he travels by bus â€“ was elected in a swift five votes of a conclave of 115 cardinals, and immediately appeared to say the Lordâ€™s Prayer to crowds on the Vatican plaza. In fact, he was immediately acclaimed as a pope of many firsts: the first Jesuit pope, the first pope of the Americas, and also the first to choose the name Francis.
Pope Francis is said to be theologically orthodox and socially conservative. He has opposed Argentinaâ€™s gay marriage laws, has been fiercely pro-family, and is also known as an advocate for the poor.
He was elected by a conclave that overwhelmingly shares the conservative views of Benedict who has held sway as an enforcer of orthodoxy in the Vatican since 1982.
The new pope will lead the worldâ€™s 1.2 billion Catholics, and sit as one of the most influential leaders in the modern world. Most North American church members felt a more liberal pope was necessary to herald the church into the modern era.
Bergoglio is already 76 years old with conservative views, and is believed to have lost the last conclave to Benedict XVI in a tight vote.
â€œWeâ€™re happy because we have a new pope and because the choice of a Latin American shows that the church is opening, is now focused on the entire Church. Itâ€™s not just a church only focused on Europe,â€ said Leonardo Steiner, General Secretary of the national conference of the Brazilian bishops.
Bishop Joseph congratulated the newly elected Pope Francis I in a statement issued by the diocese. In the statement, he says the whole diocese will pray for the Pope's "spiritual strength, wisdom and humble example" and is confident "he will guide the Church for years to come." The Bishop of Batticaloa and the people of the entire diocese offer prayers to our new Pope and promise allegiance to him.
â€œThe election of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who has taken the name Francis I, marks a great milestone in our church. As successor to Peter, our first pope, Pope Francis stands as the figure of unity for all Catholics.â€ said Bishop Joseph Ponniah.
With Joy in our hearts, we declare â€œAd Multos Annos!â€