… someone, that much is certain. NBC News is carrying it live, and here’s the embed. I’ll update as we find the answer. I happened to be on a local Salem affiliate doing a taped radio hit when the smoke appeared; I have the audio and I’m clipping it into some video I just shot in St. Peter’s Square. I’ll have that up in a few minutes.
Update: A large cheer just went up from the crowd, but so far, no action at the window. The crowd has filled the square, and are shouting, “Viva il Papa!” I’m working on my video from the initial moments in the crowd, but I’m back in the media center now so that I can update readers as soon as possible.
Update: Don’t forget, we knew ahead of time that there would be 45 minutes to an hour between the white smoke and the announcement. The process now includes time in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, which adds to the length.
Update: The new Pope is a South American, the first non-European in centuries — but not one anyone saw coming. Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, Argentina has become Pope Francis I. This name has a lot of meaning for Catholics — Francis of Assisi was credited with reforming the Catholic Church in the 13th century through humility, simplicity, and works of charity. However, Bergoglio is 76 years old, an interesting choice.
Update: More background on Pope Francis from the Vatican biography. He was born in Buenos Aires in December 1936, which makes him 75 at the moment, ordained as a Jesuit, and was made Bishop of Buenos Aires in 1992. He was elevated to Cardinal by John Paul II in 2001. He has been considered a theological conservative, probably not a surprise considering John Paul II’s intervention.
Update: Bergoglio is also the son of Italian immigrants to Argentina, so Italy has a connection to the new Pope.
Update: Here’s my latest video. I was speaking with Paul Ridgeway on Salem Radio’s KKMS in the Twin Cities when the white smoke appeared, and I had to end the call quickly. I then ran out to St. Peter’s Square to capture the moment, and even ran into a couple from Indiana.
To say I was surprised would be to engage in overwhelming understatement. I didn’t think we’d get an answer until perhaps the weekend. Bergoglio, it should be noted, is also a surprise. Although he came in second to Benedict XVI in the last conclave, few considered him on the short papabili list, which goes to show just how effective that speculation really was. Now the Catholic Church has its first South American Pope, and I can tell you that the South American contingent in the media center were not shy about sharing their pride in that election.
Update: The Washington Post profile of Pope Francis includes this look into his approach:
Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who was chosen as pope Wednesday and will be known as Pope Francis, was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and is best known as a champion of the poor. This is often reflected in his very humble lifestyle, despite his position. One much-cited example of his personal (and very Franciscan) commitment is that he takes the bus.
They link to another profile in the National Catholic Register:
Back in 2005, Bergoglio drew high marks as an accomplished intellectual, having studied theology in Germany. His leading role during the Argentine economic crisis burnished his reputation as a voice of conscience, and made him a potent symbol of the costs globalization can impose on the world’s poor.
Bergoglio’s reputation for personal simplicity also exercised an undeniable appeal – a Prince of the Church who chose to live in a simple apartment rather than the archbishop’s palace, who gave up his chauffeured limousine in favor of taking the bus to work, and who cooked his own meals.
Update: Here is the video of Pope Francis’ first address, via NRO: