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The conclave has concluded papal elections with choosing the Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio as the new pope. The 76-year old Bergoglio takes up Francis I as his papal name. Francis I is the first non- European pope in modern history. He is also the first to take Francis as his name and he is the first who has been elected after a historical resignation of former pope Benedict XVI.
Francis I spent his entire career in Argentina being the archbishop of Buenos Aires before stepping down because of his age last year. He follows the church’s most conservative wing and he had clashes over his opposition to gay marriage and free distribution of contraceptives.
As he was elected white smoke rose from the Vatican’s chimney. He was then dressed in the papal robe and appeared on the balcony of the Sistine Chapel. He spoke briefly asking the cheering crowd to bless him as a pope. He then said a prayer on the balcony.
He was elected on the second day of voting after the cardinals locked themselves up in the Sistine Chapel to undergo the secret election process in a conclave. He had to gain two-thirds of the votes to be elected. Francis I’s formal coronation will take place a few days later.