Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio Of Buenos Aires, has been elected to be the 266th pope of the Catholic Church, taking the name Pope Francis.
Francis was elected to the papacy after two days of conclave meetings with a total of five ballots cast. Voting in the conclave, which began Tuesday afternoon, is confidential and cardinals were sworn to secrecy, but Francis received at least 77 votes, which is the minimum two-thirds required to become pope. There were 115 cardinals eligible to vote in the conclave. All were under 80 before Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s retirement, as required by Vatican rules. In 2005, when Benedict was elected, it took two days and four votes to elect him.
Francis, whose papacy is effective immediately, will be formally installed in the coming days. It’s unclear when the installation Mass will happen, but Vatican spokesman Fr. Frederico Lombardi said earlier on Wednesday that Tuesday, March 19, the feast of St. Joseph, is a possible date. He spoke before white smoke signalled news of a new pope, and it was unclear if he expected a decision on Wednesday. Lombardi also said in the same interview that the new pope would likely celebrate Mass with cardinals the morning after his election.
The date of a papal installation typically begins visit with cardinals to the grottos of St. Peter’s Basilica, where the first pope, St. Peter, is said to be buried. There, the new pope is expected to say, “I leave from where the apostle arrived” before a procession to the square and an installation Mass (the Mass lasted two hours for Benedict’s installation in 2005).