New Pope Francis is Elected: Catholics in Macungie React
White smoke appeared from the Sistine Chapel on Wednesday, signalling the election of a the new leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics including 67,000 in Lehigh County.
Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, of Buenos Aires, Argentina, has been elected pope after only two days of deliberation.
He has chosen to be called Pope Francis, the first pope to choose the name, though it's unclear if his choice is in honor of St. Francis Assisi, Xavier, or DeSales.
Bergoglio is the first Jesuit—and the first from Latin America—to be named pope.
A comment shared on Lower Macungie Patch's Facebook page noted the pope's age:
"He stepped down as cardinal because of his age and now they make him Pope?" asked Beth Loring.
What are your thoughts on the new pontiff? Tell us in the comments section below.
Pope Francis has spent nearly his entire career in Argentina, and according to published reports, he has lived modestly, taking the bus to work, cooking his own meals and opting to live in an apartment.
ABC News Online reported that he is considered a champion of social justice in his country. He also is a conservative, strongly opposing abortion, same-sex marriage and contraception, ABC News reported.
Bergoglio stepped out onto the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome at 3:22 p.m. Wednesday (8:22 p.m in Rome) to cheering crowds. An hour earlier, white smoke flowed from the Sistine Chapel chimney, indicating that the Roman Catholic cardinals had elected a new pope.
U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), a Zionsville resident, today released the following statement on the election of the Catholic Church’s new Pope Francis I:
"The Catholic Church is the largest charitable, healthcare and educational institution in the world, and the spiritual home to 1.2 billion Catholics around the globe. The new Holy Father Francis I has an immense task ahead of him and I pray that God will uphold him with strength, wisdom and courage to take on the challenges and beauty of his new role."
Bergoglio succeeds Pope Benedict XVI, who resigned Feb. 28, the first pope to do so in 600 years. He cited advanced age.
There are 270,000 Catholics across the Allentown Diocese, including 76,000 in Northampton County and 67,000 in Lehigh County.