Catholic Church elects Jorge Mario Bergolio as new pope

Will Berger, Staff Writer

Yes, it’s that time of the millennium again, when a new pope is appointed after his predecessor voluntarily steps down from the throne.  The Vatican replaced the old, worn out Pope with a younger, hip 76 year-old new Pope.  Jorge Mario Bergoglio will be called Francis, the 266th pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church.  He is also the first non-European pope in more than 1,200 years. Of course, that is still less time than it took the Catholic Church to realize that the sun does not go around the Earth.

It took the 115 cardinal electors inside the Sistine Chapel just a day and a half to send a cloud of white smoke up the chimney and into the air over St. Peter’s Square, signaling the conclusive vote. The newly elected Pope Francis, like his predecessor, is a conservative who is anti-gay marriage and anti-gay adoption.

He has described same-sex marriage as the work of the devil and a “destructive attack on God’s plan.”  He has also said that gay adoption is a form of “discrimination against children.” These statements could be made into a challenging and exciting game of “Who said it: Michele Bachmann or the Pope?”

Pope Francis is not only inheriting Pope Benedict’s pointy hat, but also his Twitter account.  His first official Tweet as @Pontifex was “Habemus papam franciscum,” which means, “We have a Pope Francis.”  Followers should know by now that once an important religious entity dies, like the Pope’s Twitter account, there is a possibility that it will be resurrected.

With a new Pope in and an old Pope out, people are asking, “What will a retired Pope do?”  The answer, I assume, is the same as that for any man: he’ll find a hobby (e.g., model trains) or buy a sports car.

Ex-pope Benedict has hinted, however, that he wishes to retire into a life of seclusion.  In a meeting with Roman priests he told them, “Even if I am withdrawing into prayer, I will always be close to all of you… even if I remain hidden to the world.”

Pope Francis will visit his predecessor at Castel Gandolfo at the papal retreat next Saturday in a historic meeting between the new pope and the first pope to resign in 600 years.

The meeting will be private, but Pope Francis will definitely try to persuade Pope Benedict to give him the keys to the Popemobile.

Although I do not hold the same religious beliefs as Pope Benedict, I wish him luck on his next venture: Pontiff Pilates, a DVD series for that Catholic who wants to lose 5 inches from their waist and achieve divine abs.