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(NECN/AP) – Argentine Jorge Bergoglio was elected pope Wednesday and chose the papal name Francis, becoming first pontiff from the Americas and the first from outside Europe in more than a millennium.
A stunned-looking Bergoglio shyly waved to the crowd of tens of thousands of people who gathered in St. Peter's Square, marveling that the cardinals had had to look to "the end of the earth" to find a bishop of Rome.
He asked for prayers for himself, and for retired Pope Benedict XVI, whose stunning resignation paved the way for the tumultuous conclave that brought the first Jesuit to the papacy. The cardinal electors overcame deep divisions to select the 266th pontiff in a remarkably fast conclave.
Bergoglio had reportedly finished second in the 2005 conclave that produced Benedict - who last month became the first pope to resign in 600 years.
Father James Bretzke, from Boston College’s School of Theology and Ministry, is a Jesuit priest. He earned his doctorate at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, where he also taught for three years.
What’s your reaction?
“At least he didn’t take the name of Peter because that’s supposed to be the mark of the end of the world, a Jesuit elected pope who takes Peter.”
Father Bretzke was surprised because despite being the runner up in the last papal conclave reportedly, he was not considered to be a front runner.
“He has a reputation as being rather conservative, traditional,” Bretzke says.
He was humble, asking the people to pray for him.
Bretzke says he chose a man of peace, a much-beloved man as his name.
“He did not take the name Ignatius which I think would have been very arrogant for a Jesuit to do. So he took the name of one of the most beloved saints in the whole church, and I think that’s a good choice.”
Bretzke says he appeared as a man of prayer, a man of simplicity, a man of gentleness and a man of openness which he found very encouraging because that hasn’t been his reputation.