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Argentina's Bergoglio now Pope Francis I; Catholics worldwide rejoice

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Buenos Aires' former archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, has been elected as the next Pope.

White smoke billowed from the Sistine Chapel on Wednesday, the traditional signal that 115 cardinal electors gathered from around the world had chosen a new pope to lead the planet's 1.2 billion Catholics.

The faithful eagerly awaited the announcement of Pope Francis I.

Francis is the first Jesuit and non-European Pope to ever be elected. He's spent his entire career in Argentina, overseeing churches and shoe-leather priests.

One Minnesota scholar was surprised both by how quickly the cardinals settled on the new pope and by who they chose. Dr. Don Briel, who directs the University of St. Thomas' Center for Catholic Studies, tells MinnPost Pope Francis brings a deep commitment to the poor and the developing world and will likely resist calls to liberalize the church.

A Mankato priest originally from Argentina is familiar with the new pope and tells the Free Press Francis is very personable and attuned to social concerns.

Once he's officially installed, the pontiff's to do list will include naming a new leader of the St. Cloud Diocese, where Bishop John Kinney is retiring.

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