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‘Pray For Me,’ 76-yr-old Pope Francis Asks The World

The new Pope has been unveiled as Argentine Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, who will take the name Pope Francis I.

The 76-year-old was welcomed by tens of thousands of overjoyed Catholics in St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican City after his election was revealed this afternoon at 6pm GMT when white smoke poured out of the chimney of the Sistine Chapel.

Pope Francis becomes the first South American Pontiff and the first Jesuit to hold the title. His South American origin is a significant move for the Church, taking the Papacy to a continent in which 42 per cent of the world’s Catholics live.

The reformist becomes the third non-Italian Pope in a row, having being born and spent his life in the Argentinian capital.

He began his address to the crowd with a joke, saying that his brother cardinals had gathered to pick a bishop of Rome ‘and they have chosen one from far away but here I am’.  He then asked for prayers for his living predecessor.

He said: ‘First and foremost I would like to pray for our emeritus Pope Benedict XVI that Christ and the Madonna watch over him.

‘Let us being this journey together, this journey for the Roman Catholic Church. It’s a journey of friendship and love and faith between us. Let us pray for one another, let us pray for all the world.’

Then he asks the crowd to be silent for a moment and pray for him as he accepts this new position.

Pope Francis is multilingual, speaking German, Spanish and Italian.

Tens of thousands cheered in St. Paul’s Square at the sight of the symbolic plumes, announcing that the successor to Benedict XVI had finally been chosen after two days of intense voting.

After hours braving the cold rain, the huge crowd chanted ‘Habemus Papam’ and ‘We have a pope’ – as the bells of St. Peter’s Basilica and other churches across Rome pealed.

As excitement grew before the Pope Francis’s imminent appearance on the loggia, the crowd repeated the refrain ‘Viva il Papa’ – translated as ‘Long live the Pope’. 

The new Pope was dressed in his papal robes and joined in prayer with the other cardinals before his appearance.

The conclave was called after Pope Benedict XVI resigned last month for health reasons, sending the church into turmoil and exposing deep divisions among cardinals tasked with finding a replacement to address issues within the church.

Chants of `Long live the pope’ arose from the throngs of Catholics, many with tears in their eyes and the crowds buzzed with excitement as the Vatican and Italian military bands marched through the square and up the steps of the basilica.

They were followed by Swiss Guards, dressed in silver helmets and full regalia.

A result on only the first full day of voting in the Papal election surprised many who thought that the process would take several days.

This was because there appeared to be no clear front runner in the election of the 266th Pontiff. It was also thought it may be longer conclave as the previous Pope had not died.

The election of the new Pope had one more ballot as that in 2005 when Joseph Ratzinger was elected and became Benedict XVI in what was one of the quickest elections of all time.

On the first evening of that election black smoke appeared from the Sistine Chapel’s chimney before a further two votes the following morning did not get a result either. However the third ballot saw Benedict XVI elected after only 26 hours of debate.

The election of the new Pope is likely to be among the fastest of all time, alongside the conclave that saw Pius Xii chosen after 20 hours in 1939.

Mail Online

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BREAKING NEWS: Argentina’s Bergoglio Named Pope

Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio has been named pope. His new title is Francis I.

Earlier, White smoke poured from the roof of the Sistine Chapel and the bells of St. Peter’s Basilica pealed, signaling that cardinals had chosen a new pope to lead the troubled Roman Catholic Church after only five ballots.

The decision by 115 cardinal electors came sooner than many faithful expected because of the large number of possible frontrunners identified before the vote to replace Pope Benedict, who resigned in February.

The name of the new leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics was expected to be announced in around half an hour from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica.

The secret conclave began on Tuesday night with a first ballot in the Renaissance splendor of the chapel and four ballots were held on Wednesday. The white smoke indicated the new pontiff had obtained the required two thirds majority in the fifth ballot.

Following a split ballot when they were first shut away amid the chapel’s Renaissance splendor on Tuesday evening, the cardinal electors held a first full day of deliberations on Wednesday. Black smoke rose after the morning session to signal no decision.

Cheers arose from hundreds of people sheltering from incessant rain under a sea of umbrellas in St. Peter’s Square as the white smoke billowed from the narrow chimney.

The cardinals had faced a tough task in finding a leader capable of overcoming crises caused by priestly child abuse and a leak of secret papal documents that uncovered corruption and rivalry inside the Church government or Curia.

The wave of problems are thought to have contributed to Pope Benedict’s decision to become the first pontiff in 600 years to resign.

Additional report from Reuters


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You Can’t Declare Amnesty For Ghosts, Says Jonathan In Borno

Nigeria’s president, visiting the region at the heart of an Islamist insurgency for the first time since he was elected in 2011, on Thursday rebuffed calls for an amnesty deal for the extremists.

President Goodluck Jonathan’s visit came amid mounting political pressure for him to travel to the region and followed calls this week from Nigeria’s top Islamic figure for an amnesty deal for insurgents.

Jonathan landed in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state and considered the home base of Islamist extremists Boko Haram, and travelled by helicopter to neighbouring Yobe state, also hit by repeated attacks blamed on the group.

Security was tight, with soldiers stationed along roads and movement restricted. He is due to return to Maiduguri later Thursday for a visit that will extend into Friday.

The president said he could not rule out an amnesty deal in the future, but said that it was impossible to negotiate an agreement with Boko Haram because their identities and demands remained unclear.

“You cannot declare amnesty for ghosts,” Jonathan told an audience of politicians and dignitaries in the Yobe state capital Damaturu, broadcast live on national television.

Jonathan made reference to a 2009 amnesty deal for militants in the oil-producing Niger Delta region, where the president is from.

The deal has been credited with greatly reducing unrest in the Niger Delta, but criminality has since flourished, including the theft of crude oil on a massive scale, costing Nigeria an estimated $6 billion per year.

“In the Niger Delta, if you call them, they come and they will tell you their grievances,” he said. “But Boko Haram, I don’t see anybody who says they are Boko Haram.”

The visit came with Jonathan facing political pressure to visit the northeast, wracked by scores of bombings and shootings blamed on Boko Haram. The military has been accused of major abuses in response to the insurgency.

It is also the region where seven members of a French family were believed taken after being kidnapped on February 19 just over the border in Cameroon. They remain held by the abductors and their whereabouts are unknown.

There have been growing calls for Jonathan to visit the area. A group of opposition state governors visited Maiduguri last week, drawing further attention to Jonathan’s absence there.

Jonathan earlier in the day held talks with Yobe governor Ibrahim Geidam and was due to help commission a number of government projects.

Violence linked to Boko Haram’s insurgency in northern and central Nigeria has left some 3,000 people dead since 2009, including killings by the security forces.

The group has claimed to be fighting for an Islamic state in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation and largest oil producer, though its demands have repeatedly shifted.

It is believed to include various factions with differing aims, in addition to imitators and criminal gangs who carry out violence under the guise of the group.

Nigeria’s 160 million population is roughly divided between a mainly Muslim north and predominately Christian south. Jonathan, a southern Christian, has been accused by his opponents of neglecting the northeast.


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No More Dialogue With FG, Says Boko Haram

For the first time in about 10 months, the leader of Jama’atu Ahlil Sunnah Lid da’awati Wal Jihad, better known as Boko Haram, has appeared in a new video, asserting that his sect has not suspended its violent attacks and rejecting dialogue with the Nigerian government, Sahara Reporters has reported on Sunday. 
In the nine-minute video that is being circulated in Nigeria, Imam Abubakar Shekau describes as fraud and lies, the dialogue purportedly being undertaken by one Imam Abdulazeez on behalf of Boko Haram.  He says there none of his officials is known as Abdulazeez and he doesn’t know the said Abdulazeez.
“It is a lie, there is nothing like ceasefire or dialogue going on with government,” he says.  “We have never sat in any meeting for dialogue, we have not and it is not true that we are talking with Nigerian government. We don’t know the Imam Abdulazeez, he is not speaking on our behalf like he claimed. He is not one of us, I don’t know him.
“There are procedures of dialogue as it is spelled out in Islam, they are busy arresting our people, small boys and women and so they are not serious with any dialogue and we are also not interested in any talking with them. We are only doing God’s work and serving Him and not men.”
He further maintains that the time for any dialogue effort with the Nigerian government has passed, and that no further talk about dialogue will be entertained by the sect.  

He accused the government of continuing to arrest members of Boko Haram, as well as their wives and children, sometimes on the pretext that they are armed robbers.

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