Wrap-up of the 2013 Papal Conclave: What to Know about the New Pope Francis I, When the Sistine Chapel Reopens, and More

The new pope is chosen in 2013 conclave
The new pope is chosen in 2013 conclave

More than 100,000 people filled St. Peter’s Square during the conclave as a chance to see white smoke out of the Sistine Chapel—and the new pope

As you may have heard, the Vatican has a new pope! The new pope, who took the name Francis I (or Francesco), was picked in the second day of the papal conclave. And, yes, that means that, with the conclave over, the Sistine Chapel is reopening.

Here’s a handy Q&A  about the 2013 conclave, the new pope, and the Sistine Chapel reopening!

Why was there a papal conclave, and what happened to Pope Benedict XVI?

Pope Benedict announced back in February that he was going to step down—and yes, that’s as much a break with tradition as you would expect. In fact, he was the first pope to resign since 1415. A big reason appears to be the 85-year-old’s deteriorating health, and his desire to spend more time on reading and research.

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Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the new Pope Francis I

After Pope Benedict stepped down on February 28, a conclave had to be called. In a papal conclave, all 115 members of the college of cardinals meet in the Sistine Chapel and elect a new pope. (Here’s everything you ever wanted to know about a papal conclave and how it works!).  The conclave took place this week. After only a day and a half, the cardinals elected Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, Argentina, as the new pope.

Why was Pope Francis I’s election such a big deal?

As an Argentinian, Jorge Mario Bergoglio—who took the name Pope Francis I—is the first Latin American to have been elected pope, and the first non-European in 1,200 years. He’s also the first Jesuit to serve as pope.

Why did he choose the name Francis I?

He chose the name after St. Francis of Assisi, one of Italy’s two patron saints and a saint particularly known for his humility and humanity. That’s a real sign, and not an altogether unexpected one—one of the most striking things about Francis has been his humble demeanor. He’s continued to show that characteristic now as pope. On his first day in the seat, for example, he turned down a special car and security detail that would take him to the Vatican, joining the other cardinals on a bus instead.

The Sistine Chapel, reopening soon after the papal conclave

The Sistine Chapel, reopening soon after the papal conclave

Is there some special connection Pope Francis I has to Italy?

The new pope was born to Italian immigrant parents in Buenos Aires. That’s actually not that rare. Italians have been settling in Argentina since the 16th century, and some of the most famous Argentinians in history, including President Juan Domingo Peron, have been of Italian descent.

When is the Sistine Chapel reopening?

We’ve just received confirmation that, after being closed for the papal conclave, the Sistine Chapel reopens on Monday, March 18.

 

2 Comments

  • There is an excellent movie that depicts the election of a pope that bears a striking resemblance to Pope Francis I.

    The movie is called, “Shoes of the Fisherman” and was made in 1968, starring Anthony Quinn as a humble pope who previously spent 20 years in a Siberian prison camp.

    There are scenes from inside the Sistine Chapel and show an obviously fictitious rendering of a papal conclave, however, so much of the movie rings true, like the sealing of the papal apartments and the depositing of the ballots.

    I think you would really like this movie.

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