Langhorne Priest Sees New Direction from Pope Francis
The new pope was chosen on the second day of conclave. White smoke emanated from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel at approximately 2 p.m. Wednesday.
At approximately 3:30 p.m. Wednesday (8:30 p.m. in Vatican City), Pope Francis I emerged onto the balcony of the Sistine Chapel and introduced himself to the world, CNN reports. Argentina's Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio is the first pope from South America and the third straight non-Italian pope.
"I think this definitely shows a new direction for the church," said Fr. Jim DeGrassa, a priest at Our Lady of Grace parish in Langhorne. "This is the first time a pope is not from Europe since St. Peter. This shows that the church is universal and for everybody."
The conclave came to an end at 2 p.m., when white smoke poured out of the chimney at the Sistine Chapel. The cardinals gathered at Vatican City and began the private election process on Tuesday.
Originally from Buenos Aires, Cardinal Bergoglio took on the name of St. Francis, a decision that signifies to Fr. DeGrassa the direction that Pope Francis I may take the Catholic church.
"When people think of St. Francis," he said, "they think of humility and simplicity. That's how the church needs to be seen right now."
Pope Francis I takes up the title following the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, who stepped down on Feb. 28, citing health reasons for the decision. At 76, Bergoglio is two years younger than when Cardinal Ratzinger took the mantle in 2005. Fr. DeGrassa thinks the rare situation gives Pope Francis I an advantage no other pontiff has enjoyed in hundreds of years.
"He can go to Pope Benedict for guidance," said Fr. DeGrassa. "Nobody else in the world would be able to relate to Pope Francis in the same way."