Earlier today, March 13, 2013, after days of deliberation, the Vatican City released white smoke from the chimney of Sistine Chapel. One hour after the release of white smoke, the first Latin American Pope, Pope Francis Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio stepped onto the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica. The 76 year old was made cardinal by Pope John Paul II in 2001. Today, he gave his first address, the traditional Urbi et Orbi (to the city and the world), as the new pope. Pope Francis I is the 266 Pope of the Catholic Church, leading approximately 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide.
Pope Francis I is known as an austere Jesuit intellectual; and is said to have modernized Argentina's conservative Catholic Church. (www.cbsnews.com). This is the first Jesuit priest to be chosen by the Vatican City. For historical purposes, a Jesuit priest is a member of the Society of Jesus, also known as Societas Jesu as it was latinized in 1540 by Pope Paul III. (www.newadvent.org/cathen/14081a.htm) It is known as a Christian Male Religious order of the Roman Catholic Church; and as of 1544 - 52, members are known as Jesuits, meaning The Company of Jesus. Jesuits seek to follow and help others adhere to the orders of God. Saint Ignatius of Loyola founded this society around 1534 after being wounded in battle and experienced a religious conversion. He organized the Spiritual Exercises to help others follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. Jesuit priest are known for their work in education, intellectual research, cultural pursuits, social justice, and ecumenical dialogue - seeking greater unity and cooperation among Christians who are separated by doctrine and history. (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ecumenism)
As the 266 Pope of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio will be faced with many challenges in this particular era of the Catholic Church. Pope Francis I will have to confront damages done to the reputation of the church due to an abundance of priest abuse scandals. He will also face challenges regarding the Vatican's battle with internal political issues, and scandals involving the leaking of Vatican documents to media. In the midst of it all, Pope Francis I, will lead a very excited group of Catholics who are elated to finally witness the emergence of white smoke symbolizing the designation of their new Pope!