Buenos Aires’ Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio is now Pope Francis. The papal conclave elected a new pope on Day 2, the first full day of deliberations in Vatican City. White smoke poured out of the chimney at the Sistine Chapel Wednesday (March 13) to signal the successor to Pope Benedict XVI was chosen.
The bells of St. Peter’s Basilica rang out to accompany the smoke signal. One day prior, the 115 senior cardinals of the conclave failed to come to agreement on the new pontiff, a decision that would require a two-thirds majority in the secret ballot process. On Tuesday night, black smoke poured from the chimney of the Sistine, indicating no new pope yet.
The new head of the Roman Catholic church will lead 1.2 billion worldwide members. The church is not without controversy, and at 85-years-old, Pope Benedict indicated he was no longer physically up to the burden. He announced his resignation in February.
Prior to the announcement of the new Pope, Reuters named several frontrunners for the position, including Odilo Scherer of Brazil and Angelo Scola, an archbishop out of Milan, Italy. U.S. cardinals Timothy Dolan and Sean O’Malley were also on a short list, as well as Canada’s Marc Ouellet and Leonardo Sandri from Argentina.
Before the vote, many celebrities expressed interest in having their names thrown in the papal hat, but they weren’t exactly eligible. Bruce Willis dressed the part for an appearance on “Late Night with David Letterman” and DJ Diplo started a Twitter hashtag, #diplo4pope. It was just a few months ago that Pope Benedict joined Twitter himself, amassing 1.6 million followers without ever sending a tweet.