Tens of thousands celebrate after white smoke poured from the Sistine Chapel chimney Wednesday...to usher in the first South American Pope. University of Mary Washington Religion Professor, Dr. Marybeth Mathews had thought the new elect would be European. She says that more than 45% of Catholics live in South America, so it is only fitting that they get representation there.
She says many people had thought the conclave would last longer, but most are greatful that a decision came within two days. Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglia will be know as Pope Francis and was elected in one of the fastest conclaves in years.
Though he is known for modernizing the Argentinian church, Mathews says Catholics should not likely expect alot of immediate reform. If they are looking for change like female ordination, she thinks it will be a long wait. As for how Pope Francis will deal with the scandals that have haunted the church, it depends. Mathews says that he may try to first connect with the people and then deal with the issues. Either way, a challenge is ahead because many caught in scandals are high up in the church.