ROME – The day after former Archbishop of Buenos Aires Jorge Bergoglio was elected head of the world’s estimated 1.2 billion Catholics, Ariadna Estetania Cabello Rendace was among a group of Argentinians standing in the evening cold in St Peter’s Square, watching on video screens in the vast cobble-stoned piazza as the new Pope said Mass under the blue-background splendour of Michelangelo’s Biblical frescoes inside the Sistine Chapel. “Last night, when they announced the new papa, we were standing over there, near the fountain,” she said, pointing across the square. “When he said ‘Argentina’, I said ‘What? Who? I cannot believe’.”
ROME — Joshua Cambria, a convert to Catholicism who hails from Providence, R.I., and a student-services officer at John Cabot University in Rome, said he ran to St. Peter’s upon seeing the white smoke while watching the conclave proceedings on TV. “I was personally hoping for [Italian Cardinal Angelo] Scola, a grand Ambrosian theologian with an appetite for reform. But, again, I am both surprised and pleased with the outcome of the holy conclave,” said Cambria, who describes himself as being as much of an Italian as an American. Like Cambria, other American students in Rome had their particular thoughts and hopes about who would succeed Benedict XVI. Tatum McWhirter, a philosophy and theology student at Rome’s Pontifical Lateran University, said she was rooting for Canada’s Marc Ouellet, who, like U.S. cardinals Sean O’Malley and Timothy Dolan, was touted by many analysts as a contender prior to the conclave.