Surprise and delight at new Pope
A NEW dawn has begun in Rome with the announcement of the 266th Catholic Pope.
Argentine cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio has become the first Pope from the Americas in the history of the church - the first non-European pope in more than 1200 years.
Cardinal Bergoglio, 76, who will be taking the papal name of Francis, is archbishop of Buenos Aires and is believed to have been the runner-up to Benedict XVI at the last conclave in 2005.
Cardinal Bergoglio is known for his personal humility, doctrinal conservatism and a commitment to social justice.
His simple lifestyle contributed to his reputation for humility. He lived in a small apartment rather than in the palatial bishop's residence and he gave up his chauffeured limousine in favour of public transportation.
After five votes, white smoke billowed from a Sistine Chapel chimney at 7.07pm Wednesday (Rome time), and French cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran then made the announcement from the balcony of St Peter's Basilica.
Bishop Geoffrey Jarrett of Lismore diocese said yesterday that while the announcement came as a surprise, he was glad to hear it.
"This will be a papacy of great promise and expectation," Bishop Jarrett said.
"He holds an office in today's fast- changing world unparalleled in both longevity and influence."
Volunteer at the Catholic Book and Gift Store Lismore, Maureen McLean, said she was delighted to hear the news of the new Pope and said he impressed her with his first address.
"He sounds as if he could be very, very good. He's got nice, modern ideas," she said.