Breaking News:Cardinals choose new pope to succeed Benedict | The Ticket – Yahoo! News
White smoke appeared from the chimney above the Sistine Chapel, and bells from St. Peter’s Basilica have pealed, meaning the 115 Roman Catholic cardinals gathered at the Vatican from all over the world have chosen a new pope.
The church’s 266th pontiff will replace Benedict XVI, whose surprise resignation last month prompted the cardinals to initiate a conclave, a Latin phrase meaning “with a key,” to pick a new leader for the world’s almost 2 billion Catholics.
Although it’s not immediately clear who received the necessary two-thirds vote, several candidates were mentioned as front runners, including what could be the first African pope or the first pope from the U.S. or Canada.
The new church leader takes over an organization many say is in crisis, from damaging allegations of internal squabbling to the cover-up and abetting of sexual abuse, though the latter issue came to light before Benedict’s papacy.
Some sources say the Catholic Church in the U.S. has paid out as much as $3 billion to settle sexual abuse claims, though others estimate a billion less. At least eight U.S. Catholic dioceses declared bankruptcy protection. Benedict said in a 1998 U.S. visit that he was ashamed of the sex abuse scandal, and assured that the church would not allow pedophiles to become priests.