White Smoke! Meet Pope Francis.

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
March 13 2013 4:00 PM

Holy Smoke! Meet Pope Francis. He Has One Lung, Loves the Bus, and Hates Gay Marriage.

The crowd at St Peter's Square after white smoke billowed from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel announcing that Catholic Church cardinals had elected a new pope during a conclave on March 13, 2013, at the Vatican.
The crowd at St Peter's Square after white smoke billowed from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel announcing that Catholic Church cardinals had elected a new pope during a conclave on March 13, 2013, at the Vatican.

Photo by Tiziana Fabi/AFP/Getty Images

And the new pope is: 76-year-old Jorge Mario Bergoglio from Argentina, who will now be known as Pope Francis.

His papal selection gives the Catholic Church its first non-European Holy Father in more than 1,000 years and represents something of an upset in what has traditionally been an unpredictable selection process. Bergoglio didn't crack most short-lists heading into the conclave, and was a major (33-1 at one point) underdog in the eyes of online bookies, making his selection that much more surprising because it happened on only the second day of voting.

Advertisement

At 76, Bergoglio is on the older side for election as pope. He's also an unconventional choice for a couple of other reasons: He's the first Jesuit pope in the church's history, and he's the first to hail from the Americas (although his father was an Italian immigrant). Perhaps fittingly, as his lack of a Roman numeral would imply, he's the first pope to assume the name of Francis. Oh yeah, and he has only one lung, having lost the other to an infection when he was a teen. Here's USA Today with a few more interesting tidbits about his simplistic life style:

Despite being Argentina's top church official, Bergoglio never lived in the ornate church mansion in Buenos Aires, preferring a simple bed in a downtown room heated by a small stove. For years, he took public transportation around the city and cooked his own meals.

The Catholic News Service describes his leadership style as "low-key and close to the people" and notes that to many in Buenos Aires, he is—or we suppose, was, now that he got the promotion of all promotions—known simply as "Father Jorge."

Here's how the National Catholic Reporter handicapped his chances heading into the conclave:

Though it's hard to say how seriously one should take the specifics, the general consensus is that Bergoglio was indeed the "runner-up" last time around [in 2005]. He appealed to conservatives in the College of Cardinals as a man who had held the line against liberalizing currents among the Jesuits, and to moderates as a symbol of the church's commitment to the developing world. ...
Another measure of Bergoglio's seriousness as a candidate was the negative campaigning that swirled around him eight years ago. Three days before the 2005 conclave, a human rights lawyer in Argentina filed a complaint charging Bergoglio with complicity in the 1976 kidnapping of two liberal Jesuit priests under the country's military regime, a charge Bergoglio flatly denied. There was also an e-mail campaign, claiming to originate with fellow Jesuits who knew Bergoglio when he was the provincial of the order in Argentina, asserting that "he never smiled."

Like many Latin American cardinals, Bergoglio has previously placed an emphasis on social justice and poverty work. Still, he is nonetheless seen by most as a theological conservative, like the man he is replacing. Unsurprisingly—but still noteworthy—is the fact that he waged an ultimately unsuccessful push to prevent Argentina from becoming the first Latin American country to legalize gay marriage, and declared that allowing gay couples to adopt children was discrimination against children.

You can listen to his first papal address below:

***Follow @JoshVoorhees and the rest of the @slatest team on Twitter.***

This post has been updated with additional information.

 

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

Abby Ohlheiser is a Slate contributor.

TODAY IN SLATE

Sports Nut

Grandmaster Clash

One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.

The Extraordinary Amicus Brief That Attempts to Explain the Wu-Tang Clan to the Supreme Court Justices

Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company. Here Are Its Six New Devices.

Uh-Oh. The World’s Oceans Have Broken Their All-Time Heat Record.

The NFL Explains How It Sees “the Role of the Female”

Future Tense

Amazon Is Now a Gadget Company

Food

How to Order Chinese Food

First, stop thinking of it as “Chinese food.”

The NFL Should Lose Its Tax-Exempt Status, Which It Never Should Have Had Anyway

The Country Where Women Aren’t Allowed to Work Once They’re 36 Weeks’ Pregnant

The XX Factor
Sept. 18 2014 11:40 AM The Country Where Women Aren’t Allowed to Work Once They’re 36 Weeks’ Pregnant
  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 18 2014 8:20 PM A Clever Attempt at Explaining Away a Vote Against the Farm Bill
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 18 2014 6:02 PM A Chinese Company Just Announced the Biggest IPO in U.S. History
  Life
Outward
Sept. 18 2014 4:15 PM Reactions to a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Reveal Transmisogyny
  Double X
Doublex
Sept. 18 2014 8:07 PM Crying Rape False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 18 2014 1:23 PM “It’s Not Every Day That You Can Beat the World Champion” An exclusive interview with chess grandmaster Fabiano Caruana.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 18 2014 4:33 PM The Top 5 Dadsplaining Moments From The Cosby Show
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 18 2014 6:48 PM By 2100 the World's Population Could Be 11 Billion
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 18 2014 3:35 PM Do People Still Die of Rabies? And how do you know if an animal is rabid?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.