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A Pope Is Chosen

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A Pope Is Chosen

Filed by KOSU News in World News.
March 13, 2013

The world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics have a new spiritual leader.

As afternoon turned to evening in Vatican City on Wednesday, a little after 7 p.m. local time, white smoke rose from a chimney above the Sistine Chapel and bells rang through St. Peter’s Square — the traditional signals that the church’s cardinals have chosen a new pope.

Still to come: the identity of the cardinal chosen to take the now-retired Pope Benedict XVI’s place.

Now, as NPR’s Sylvia Poggioli has said, the new pope and the church face a choice: “Whether to continue an inward looking conservative path or to open up to the broader world of the faithful and introduce more collegiality, as had been indicated by the reforms of the Second Vatican Council 50 years ago.”

We’ll have much more about the new pope and what his selection means as the day continues. Be sure to hit your “refresh” button to see our latest updates.

The papal selection came after five votes by the 115 cardinals eligible to cast ballots. They voted once on Tuesday, twice Wednesday morning and then twice again on Wednesday afternoon. It takes a two-thirds majority (77 in this case) to become pope.

Update at 2:55 p.m. ET. “And So I Say To You, You Are Peter.”

The Whispers in the Loggio blog notes that “the front-page of the Vatican website” is now devoted to Matthew 16:13-19:

“When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that the Son of Man is?’

“They replied, ‘Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’

“He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’

“Simon Peter said in reply, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’

“Jesus said to him in reply, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.

” ‘And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.

” ‘I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.’ “

Peter would become the church’s first pope.

Update at 2:50 p.m. ET. But Sooner Than Expected?

On Talk of the Nation moments ago, NPR’s Sylvia Poggioli said “it was unexpected that [the choice would be made] so fast. This is just one ballot more than the election of [Benedict] in 2005 and he was a shoe-in. … The fact that they did this quite fast, in five ballots, means they probably wanted to give a sign of unity in the church at a time when it is being buffeted by so many crises.”

Update at 2:45 p.m. ET. Five Ballots Is In Line With Recent History:

In 2005, Pope Benedict XVI was elected on the fourth ballot, as this list from Radio Vatican shows. In papal elections before that: it took eight ballots to settle on Pope John Paul II in 1978; four ballots to elect Pope John Paul I in 1978; and six ballots to elect Pope Paul VI in 1963.

Update at 2:40 p.m. ET. Pageantry:

As you can see on the streaming coverage from RadioVaticanVideo, now that there’s a new pope the Swiss Guards are back on active duty. As a band played, they just marched into the square.

Update 2:35 p.m. ET. Inside The Sistine Chapel, Wednesday Was “Super Tuesday.”

National Catholic Reporter’s John Allen writes that today’s “four rounds of voting loom[ed] as the make-or-break test for whoever emerged yesterday as the early front-runner or front-runners.” It was the Vatican equivalent, he says, of the Super Tuesday primaries in American presidential elections that often determine nominees.

Update at 2:30 p.m. ET. Changing Into White:

The Associated Press writes that the 266th pope “now changes into his papal white cassock, and one-by-one the cardinals approach him to swear their obedience. He will stop and pray in the Pauline Chapel for a few minutes before emerging on the loggia of the balcony overlooking St. Peter’s Square. Preceding him to the balcony is French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, the protodeacon, who announces ‘Habemus Papam!’ Latin for ‘We have a pope’ and then introduces him to the world in Latin. He then emerges and delivers his first public words as the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.”

Update at 2:20 p.m. ET. First Clue To Identity Will Be Latin Version Of His Birth Name:

The new pope “will be introduced to those in the square below by French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, assuming Tauran himself has not been elected, by the Latin version of his birth name following Tauran’s proclamation of the Latin phrase Habemus papam’ (‘We have a pope’),’ writes National Catholic Reporter.

It adds that:

“Those in the square will be listening now to which first name Tauran gives. For example, should he begin introducing the new pope as ‘Ioannem,’ Latin for Sean, John, Juan or Giovanni, there are several possibilities for who the new pope is. Should Tauran say something more unique, perhaps ‘Donaldum’ for Donald or ‘Aloisium’ for Luis, the selection will become apparent more quickly.”

We posted Tuesday on “5 Things About Popes And Their Names; Like, Why Do They Change Them?”

Update at 2:12 p.m. ET. Who Is It? We’ll Know Soon:

According to Vatican Radio, which is streaming its coverage on YouTube, the identity of the new pope — who will appear on a balcony above St. Peter’s Square — should be known within an hour or so. At this moment, Vatican Radio says, he’s likely changing from the vestments he’s worn as a cardinal into those made for a pope alone.

Catholic News Service adds that “the Vatican estimated it would be about an hour before Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, the top-ranking cardinal deacon, would come out onto the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica and confirm the election with the phrase ‘Habemus papam’ (We have a pope).” [Copyright 2013 NPR]

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