By Darren Poley
It is a new era. I first found out about the ancient tradition of the white smoke created by the burning of the ballots from the papal election by an alert from PopeAlarm.com. White smoke indicated a new Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church had been chosen, and he had accepted. “Friends” were buzzing about it on Facebook.com. We watched the video streamed live from the Vatican City over the Internet by the Eternal Word Television Network. And finally the announcement came on Twitter. Cardinal-electors of the Catholic Church had inaugurated a pope of firsts. He is the first pope from Latin America. He has chosen a papal name never before used, Francis. And while some popes in the history of the Church have been members of religious orders, Francis I is the first Jesuit. He is Jorge Mario Bergoglio, and until March 13, 2013, he was the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina. The official Vatican Web Site is slow to come up, probably due to the amount of cyber traffic it is getting. But nearly every news outlet by now has announced the election of a new Bishop of Rome, the visible head of the Catholic Church. For the statement on the election of Pope Francis by Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, visit the USCCB Web Site.
Darren Poley is the theology and religious studies subject librarian.
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