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The white smoke came out today in the Vatican indicating a new pope had been selected. The man of the hour is Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio from Argentina, who assumes the name Pope Francis. Who is he and what are people saying after the selection?

The latest updates from TheBlaze’s Faith Editor Billy Hallowell:

In a historic move, 76-year-old Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina was elected pope today. As the AP reports, Bergoglio is the first head of the Catholic Church ever to come from the Americas and the first from outside Europe in more than a millennium. He chose the name Pope Francis.

Bergoglio‘s age was a surprise, considering that many commentators assumed the cardinals would select someone younger. But, alas, they chose a man who, by expert accounts, is more than qualified for the job.

The Catholic Church’s new leader was born in 1936 and he has four brothers and sisters. While he originally wanted to be a chemist, his path took a very obvious turn. In 1958, the National Catholic Reporter reports that he joined the Society of Jesus and began preparing for the priesthood. Just over five decades later, he will now lead the church that he joined as a young man.

Prior to his selection, CNN reported that Pergoglio is known as a “straight-shooter” who has no problem calling situations as he sees them. Potentially crushing dreams that he will take the church in a more liberal direction, he subscribes to the Catholicism’s most conservative wing. On contraceptives and gay marriage, he has, in the past, taken strict, conservative stances.


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