Pope Francis: Jubilation as cardinals elect humble Argentine next pontiff

The crowd listens to Argentina's cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, elected Pope Francis I at St Peter's square. Credit: Getty Images
The crowd listens to Argentina’s cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, elected Pope Francis I at St Peter’s square.
Credit: Getty Images

“We don’t have a government, we don’t have jobs, we don’t have money, so let’s hope that we at least get a Pope”, an Italian said to me as we waited in the evening rain. Ten minutes later, white smoke emerged from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel: a Pope had been elected.

The atmosphere on St. Peter’s Square was filled with nervous and excited anticipation as we waited for a cardinal to reveal the new Pope’s identity. The Lord did his part, too: the rain stopped. My Mexican neighbor this evening reflected on how one of the candidates had spent a decade in Latin America, so perhaps he’d be elected to reflect Latin America’s preeminent role in Christianity today. He was so excited that he kissed his camera. Then the cardinal emerged and announced that Jorge Maria Bergoglio had been elected Pope and taken the name Francis. “It’s the Argentinian”, shouted my Italian neighbor for the evening. Jubilation broke out.

In fact, the atmosphere on St. Peter’s Square was electric on this historic night. The crowd of many tens of thousands resembled a gathering of 20- and 30-somethings — who said that young people people aren’t interested in church?– and everyone was remarkably polite despite their excitement. “The Pope is the Pope, so he doesn’t matter who is elected”, said one man to me as we waited.

But an Italian pope would have been greeted with cynicism. Pope Francis is an unexpected choice, and to judge from the reaction on St. Peter’s Square, a welcome one. When he humbly asked the crowd to pray for him and bowed his head, everyone did. And when he asked the crowd to pray the Lord’s Prayer with him, the crowd once again obliged. Saint Francis was a humble saint, and the man who’s now the most powerful man in world Christianity showed moving humility on this night.

Why did so many people happily participate in an election in which they have no say? Perhaps because they care about the Church. Perhaps because a papal election, staged in front of the mighty St. Peter’s Basilica, is fascinating theater. Perhaps because in uncertain times, when politicians repeatedly fail to make crucial decisions, you can count on the Roman Catholic Church to elect a new head in an expeditious fashion. The Vatican even had a Habemus Papam-tweet ready to go out the moment the words were spoken.

Or perhaps for all those reasons, as Pope Francis in his Spanish-flavored Italian wished the crowd a good night and returned inside the Vatican, the immense crowd filed out in an orderly manner. Not even the nuns pushed.


Teen girls missing from Queens group home: NYPD

Authorities are looking for missing two teen girls who police believe ran away from the Queens group home on Wednesday.


Cops release sketch of Madison Avenue jewelry robbery…

Authorities continue to look for a man suspected in a $54,000 jewelry heist at a Madison Avenue store from from last week.


Rapper affiliate of Wu-Tang Clan 'cuts off own…

Rapper Andre Johnson, who has performed with New York outfit the Wu-Tang Clan, is in a critical condition after reportedly cutting off his own penis…


Cleavage complaint: Disneyland staffer orders curvy mom to…

A curvy mom-of-three says she filed a formal complaint after staff at Disneyland Resort in California ordered her to cover up her boobs. Melissa Behnken,…


The Cannes Film Festival announces its 2014 lineup

The lineup of the 2014 Cannes Film Festival was announced this morning, promising the latest from a slew of usual (and some unusual) suspects.


‘Survivor: Cagayan’ recap: Episode 8

Sure, it's called Survivor. But this season should really be called 'The Tony Show.'


Jim Rash talks 'The Writer's Room' and amazing…

For Jim Rash, as the fifth season of "Community" comes to a close, the second season of "The Writer's Room" begins.

Going Out

Tasty chicken and waffles in NYC

Try some soul food goodness around the city.


Knicks wrap up season with win over Raptors

The Knicks wrapped up their season as it began — undermanned — but that still didn’t deter them from ending it the right way.


Adam Warren closes out doubleheader sweep for Yankees

Adam Warren navigated a tricky ninth inning earn the Yankees a 2-0 victory over the Cubs.


Marc Staal healthy, eager to contribute to Rangers…

Marc Staal remembers the feeling of helplessness watching his teammates compete for hockey’s ultimate prize and being unable to contribute.


2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version


This Week in Health: chocolate may prevent obesity…

Can chocolate prevent obesity and diabetes? Location of study: U.S. Study subjects: Mice Results: The positive health benefits of chocolate have been studied increasingly more…


This Week in Health News: breastfed infants trying…

Are breastfed infants trying to prevent mom from having another baby? Theory: The act of breastfeeding not only brings mom and baby closer together –…


Unexplained infertility may be caused by lack of…

Researchers have identified a protein on the egg's surface that interacts with another protein on the surface of sperm, allowing the two cells to join.


5 surprising facts about Google Glass

Your sex life could get more interesting.