The Vatican, as well as the rest of the world beholds a new pope today. Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, the former archbishop of Buenos Aires, took the name Pope Francis I moments after white smoke billowed out of the Sistine Chapel chimney on Wednesday.
Pope Francis I is the first non-European pope to be elected in the modern era and is the first to be named after St. Francis of Assisi, a respected saint known for his work with the poor. Pope Francis I holds the church’s most conservative views, some of which concern the social issues of gay marriage and contraceptives. Pope Francis openly criticized the president of Argentina, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, on his accepting views of free contraceptive distribution and same sex marriage.
47% of the Catholic population are Latino; therefore, Pope Francis’ election sends a message on the changes to come in the future. He was born in Buenos Aires and has chosen to live a simplistic life in an apartment rather than in an archbishop’s palace. He chooses to ride the bus to his destinations, instead of having a chauffeured limousine. He also cooks his own meals and is known for his large advocacy of the poor.
The pope’s name is symbolic of “poverty, humility, simplicity and rebuilding the Catholic Church,” says CNN analyst John Allen.