How Did Pope Francis Become the Pope?

Learn more about Pope Francis and how he came to be the pope.

You probably know of Pope Francis, but you may not know how he became the pope. We’ve created this brief guide to help you better understand!

About Pope Francis

Pope Francis was born as Jorge Bergoglio but changed his name to Pope Francis once he was selected as the new pope. He was born in Argentina in 1936 and has been known for a number of things including promoting unity between Christians and non-Christians. In 2013, he was elected pope following the resignation of former Pope Benedict XVI.

How is the Pope Chosen?

The process for selecting a new pope is quite complex. Men who are part of the College of Cardinals can be considered for the role of the pope. This includes bishops and archbishops that the pope had appointed to help with religious issues. These cardinals don’t necessarily work in the Vatican. In fact, many are spread across the world.

When it’s time to choose a new pope, the cardinals all head to Italy for a vote that takes place in the Sistine Chapel. When the vote begins, each cardinal receives a ballot to write the name of the candidate that they choose to be the pope. Then the votes are counted and the results are shared with the cardinals. Whoever receives two-thirds or more of the votes becomes pope.

Sometimes it takes multiple votes to reach the two-thirds decision. That is to say, there can be up to four votes per day for twelve days. After each vote, the ballots are burned in order to reset the vote. They’re burned with a chemical that turns the smoke a dark colour to indicate that no decision was made. Once the pope is chosen, the ballots are burned and the smoke is light in colour.

After the vote is completed and the new pope is chosen, the new pope will step onto the balcony in the Vatican and overlook St. Peter’s Square. Then the new pope will be introduced, give a brief speech and prayer, and be inaugurated.

Visiting the Vatican

You have learned the basics of becoming a pope, but there is so much more to discover. If you’re in Italy, be sure to visit the Vatican and learn all about the area.

This Sistine Chapel tour is a great way to start your morning and learn all about this fascinating area of Italy. Throughout the morning, you will visit the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, St Peter’s Square and more. You’ll also see plenty of famous artwork from the Renaissance era including pieces by Raphael and Michelangelo.

After the morning tour, you can choose to stay longer in the Vatican and explore more on your own. There is plenty to see and lots to learn. Then the rest of the day is yours to choose how you’d like to spend it. From historic ruins to impressive artwork, there are endless sites to explore near the Vatican!

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