Pope Francis, the 266th head of the Roman Catholic Church, was introduced to the world yesterday after he was elected by the College of Cardinals.
Here is his first speech before thousands in St. Peter's Square:
A theological conservative hailed for his compassion toward the poor, the 76-year-old is now the first Jesuit leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.
The former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio will be known simply as Pope Francis, not Pope Francis I as previously reported, according to the Vatican.
The reason for that is simple: “It will become Francis I after we have a Francis II,” Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi quipped to the AP.
The new name, taken by Jorge Bergoglio, marks the first time that the top Roman Catholic Church figure has chosen to be known as Francis.
Analysts say the name evokes the beloved St. Francis of Assisi; it may also recall the Jesuit missionary St. Francis Xavier. Either way, it's a first.
The last pontiff to choose a previously unused name was John Paul (1978), though his name combined two familiar names for popes, John and Paul.
He was immediately followed by John Paul II.
The first Latin-American pontiff, who hails from Argentina, immediately won over his followers yesterday with a speech that showed his trademark humility.
Said one onlooker who was there to see him:
"Francis has the mandate to renew the church ... his choice is perfectly suited for the times the church is going through. He struck me as a very simple and human man.”
“He bowed to his people. Can you imagine a more humble gesture?"