White smoke has been released from the Vatican signaling that a new pope has been selected. The official announcement is expected within the next hour.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, a 76-year-old cardinal from Argentina, will adopt the name Pope Francis I and accept the position of pope.
Rita Audlehelm, coordinator of campus health and wellness and member of the Catholic Church, believes that electing a new pope is an experience she is excited to see unfold.
“It’s always interesting to see how that will impact. It’s the same as how every president is different, and seeing where they will take us,” Audlehelm said.
While the voting is secretive, Audlehelm says that the process is an intense one that can take many days for a decision to be made.
The cardinals conduct as many sessions of voting as necessary to get a two-thirds majority and for a new pope to be elected.
After a possible fifth vote by the 117 cardinals, Pope Francis I was announced to the public as the newest leader of the Roman Catholic Church.
According to Jim Hayes, associate dean and director of CVIL, said Pope Francis I did not have a great deal of money growing up and continues to live a life of simplicity. When named auxiliary bishop of Buenos Aires in 1992, he sold the bishop’s house, limo and chauffer to adopt an impoverish lifestyle, which includes taking public transit.
“He is from a Third World country and is clear about standing for the poor,” Hayes said.
Sophomore Amy West is excited for pope who is from a country outside of Europe.
“It’s cool that he is from Argentina. In the past, there has not been a lot of variety outside of Europe in the pope selections,” West said.
As far as the doctrine, Pope Francis I is very conservative. Hayes said, “I don’t think you’ll see many statements of hot button issues.”
Overall, this was a relatively quick decision for the cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church.
“This went a lot faster than I thought it would. I thought we wouldn’t have a decision until Friday or even Saturday,” said Hayes.
Audlehelm says that she is supportive of the new pope and hopeful that the transition will be smooth for him.