On Wednesday February 28, 2013 Pope Benedict XVI retired from the position as pope in Vatican City. He felt he needed to resign from this place because he was too weak and the people needed a stronger pope to lead them. He was the first pope in 600 years to resign instead of working until death. It was someone else’s turn to be the great pope of Vatican City and lead the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.
To become the next pope, you had to be a cardinal. As soon as cardinals heard of this news, they traveled to Vatican City to try to become or help decide the next pope. On Tuesday March 12, 2013, 115 cardinals showed up in Rome for conclave. Conclave is referred as the secret election of the new pope. This event took place inside a chapel called Sistine Chapel. Everybody, besides the cardinals, were kept outside of the chapel while the cardinals started their process of finding the next pope. The only way that the people knew if cardinals had made their decision was by the color smoke that rose from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel. At the end of each day of conclave, either white or black smoke would come from the chimney, depending on the color, the people would know if they had received a new pope or not. If a puff of black smoke was to ascend the chimney, then there had been no decision of a new pope, but if the cloud of smoke was white, then they had news that a new pope was chosen to fulfill the place of Pope Benedict XVI. Civilians waited anxiously at the end of the first day of conclave to see the end results of the day. Once they had seen the gust of black smoke, they knew they had to wait a little longer.
The next day, Wednesday March 13, 2013, all of the 115 cardinals returned to the Sistine Chapel to continue with their next day of conclave. Many people, along with lots of reporters, waited outside of the Sistine Chapel to find out if the cardinals had found the next pope of Vatican City. As they waited patiently, they saw white smoke blow from the top of the chimney, the next pope of Vatican City had been found! 76-year-old Jorge Mario Bergoglio was going to be the new pope.
Soon after the decision had been made, Jorge Mario Bergoglio had been taken to St. Peter’s Basilica to give a speech. Now that he had been chosen, he was required to pick out a name from one of the saints to be his name as pope. He had chosen to be Pope Francis named after St. Francis of Assisi. Pope Francis was originally a cardinal in Argentina. He will be the first Jesuit pope of Vatican City. He is also going to be the first pope in 1,000 years to be non-European. He will be taking his place of pope in Vatican City on Tuesday March 18, 2013.
Vatican City had lost its pope and received another one within two weeks. Pope Francis will be the new leader of the 1.2 billion Catholics who live on this earth. Many believe and hope that Pope Francis will be able to revive and make Catholicism stronger than before. Fortunately, Vatican City is no longer in need of its next great pope.