Who is the new pope?

Habemus Papam

Via News.Va, his first words as pope:

Brothers and sisters good evening.
You all know that the duty of the Conclave was to give a bishop to Rome. It seems that my brother Cardinals have come almost to the ends of the earth to get him… but here we are. I thank you for the welcome that has come from the diocesan community of Rome.
First of all I would say a prayer pray for our Bishop Emeritus Benedict XVI.. Let us all pray together for him, that the Lord bless him and Our Lady protect him.
Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Glory to the Father…
And now let us begin this journey, the Bishop and people, this journey of the Church of Rome which presides in charity over all the Churches, a journey of brotherhood in love, of mutual trust. Let us always pray for one another. Let us pray for the whole world that there might be a great sense of brotherhood . My hope is that this journey of the Church that we begin today, together with help of my Cardinal Vicar, be fruitful for the evangelization of this beautiful city.
And now I would like to give the blessing, but first I want to ask you a favour. Before the bishop blesses the people I ask that you would pray to the Lord to bless me – the prayer of the people for their Bishop. Let us say this prayer – your prayer for me – in silence.
[The Protodeacon announced that all those who received the blessing, either in person or by radio, television or by the new means of communication receive the plenary indulgence in the form established by the Church. He prayed that Almighty God protect and guard the Pope so that he may lead the Church for many years to come, and that he would grant peace to the Church throughout the world.]
[Immediately afterwards Pope Francis gave his first blessing Urbi et Orbi – To the City and to the World.]
I will now give my blessing to you and to the whole world, to all men and women of good will.
Brothers and sisters, I am leaving you. Thank you for your welcome. Pray for me and I will be with you again soon.
We will see one another soon.
Tomorrow I want to go to pray the Madonna, that she may protect Rome.
Good night and sleep well!

Learn more about Pope Francis at News.va.

Has there ever been a non-European Pope?


Not since St. Peter, yes that St. Peter, has there been a non-European Pope. Wait, that sounds so cool but is it correct? No, it’s not correct. Scanning some pope lists one will find many non-European Popes from the distant past. Max Fisher of the Washington Post counted the following: Saint Peter: Bethsaida, modern-day Israel(33 – 64 […]

Which St. Francis inspired the name chosen by Pope Francis?

Pope Francis is named after St. Francis of Assisi

When Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was asked, immediately after accepting his election as pope, “By what name do you wish to be called?” he replied “Francis” and then added, “in honor of Francis of Assisi.”  This has been reported by Cardinal Elector Timothy Dolan. The Vatican elaborated: Who doesn’t know Francis of Assisi, who abandoned everything […]

Understanding the Papacy

Does black smoke get sent up after each election, once a day or when until it it white when the new pope is elected?

After the first day of the conclave, there are 4 ballots each day, two in the morning and two in the evening. In the morning, when the Cardinals first gather, they take a vote.  If there is a 2/3 majority and a Pope is selected in this ballot, they will burn the ballots immediately and it will have white smoke.  If the ballots are inconclusive, the ballots will be stored and burned with the next ballots (the second morning ballots).  If a Pope is elected with the second ballot of the morning, … [Read More...]

How important is it for a pope to be multilingual?

Must a pope speak multiple languages? In short, the very nature of the Petrine ministry is as universal as the Church is, so for the pope to speak several languages is a serious blessing. Historically, the papal office has fostered a multilingual pope and this has never been more true since the time of Blessed John Paul II's papacy. That said, being a polyglot[1] is not a requirement for papabile cardinal. But imagine how difficult it would be to be the pope who isn't fluent in the … [Read More...]

Does the pope or any of the cardinals tweet?

Pope Benedict XVI did tweet, as @pontifex.  His successor will decide whether to continue the papal twitter account. So the question of whether the pope tweets is dependent upon who is chosen during the conclave. In January 2013 Pope Benedict XVI set up a papal twitter account: @pontifex.  He tweeted sporadically in 8 different languages until his resignation on February 28.  Then the account went dormant, and the name listed on the account was changed from “Pope Benedict XVI” to “Sede … [Read More...]

More questions about the papacy...

Cardinals and Cardinal Electors

What language do the Cardinals speak in their meetings and the conclave?

During the conclave itself, there is likely not much conversation going on since it is mainly for prayer and election. The official prayers are said in Latin, as are all of the statements and questions prescribed in the rules governing the conclave, including the oath that the cardinals swear at the beginning of the conclave, and the declaration each cardinal makes when casting his vote. The cardinals may talk among themselves in their native languages back at the residence. Because Latin is … [Read More]

Who is the Cardinal Dean and what is his role in the papal transition?

The Cardinal Dean is a member of the College of Cardinals who is elected by his fellow cardinals.  He plays a number of key roles during the time that the church is without a pope.  As the "Papal Transitions" document of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops explains: The Dean of the College of Cardinals is a senior cardinal elected to his permanent position by the full College and approved by the pope.  During the sede vacante, he presides over the General Congregations and serves … [Read More]

More information about Catholic cardinals...

How the Conclave Works

Are all the cardinals eligible to vote?

Only Cardinals under the age of 80 at the time of the sede vacante are eligible to vote.  If a Cardinal turns 80 between the time the Papacy is empty (by death or by resignation) and the time the conclave ends, he will still be a part of the Conclave. … [Read More...]

Can a man who is chosen by the cardinals to become Pope decline the position?

Yes, he can.  Unless he accepts, he never becomes the Pope. From the code of Canon Law, Canon 332 §1: The Roman Pontiff acquires full and supreme power in the Church when, together with episcopal consecration, he has been lawfully elected and has accepted the election.  Accordingly, if he already has the episcopal character, he receives this power from the moment he accepts election to the supreme pontificate. If he does not have … [Read More...]

More about how the conclave works...

What Catholics Believe

What is the Eucharist?

In Catholic practice and belief, the Eucharist -- also called "Holy Communion" -- is the highest form of worship, and has been from the earliest time of the Church to today.   Lumen Gentium, a document of Vatican II, calls it the "fount and apex of the Christian life."  The "Liturgy of the Eucharist" takes up the latter half of every Catholic Mass throughout the world. So what is it?  Why is it … [Keep reading...]

More about Catholic beliefs

Spiritual Practices

Why is each cardinal assigned to a parish – or titular – church in Rome?

Originally (prior to the mid-5th C, including during the periods of persecution), the term cardinalis referred to every priest either incardinated (lt: from cardus, a hinge turned on a fixed axis) to a See, or intitulated (lt: titus, entitled to, adj: titular) to one. An incardinated priest would be physically resident at a given See, and a titular priest is one to whom a title is granted, but may or may not be resident. After the mid-5th … [Read More...]

More about pastoral and spiritual practices...