New pope ‘figure of unity’ for all Catholics, says USCCB president

POPE FRANCIS I--The world's cardinals meeting in conclave elected Card. Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, Argentina, a 76-year-old Jesuit, as pope. He took the name Francis I. He is pictured in a 2005 photo. (CNS photo/Enrique Marcarian, Reuters)

Card. Timothy M. Dolan of New York, president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), congratulated the newly elected pope, Card. Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, Argentina, who took the name Francis.

Pope Francis I “stands as the figure of unity for all Catholics wherever they reside. The bishops of the United States and the people of our 195 dioceses offer prayers for our new leader and promise allegiance to him,” Card. Dolan said.

Pope Francis was introduced the church and the world when he walked out on the balcony at 8:22 p.m. local time.

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NBC News hires Fr. Robert Barron for on-air commentary

Fr. Robert Barron

Fr. Robert Barron has been hired by NBC News as a contributor and analyst covering the departure of Pope Benedict and the events leading up to the election of the new pope. Fr. Barron will cover these events on the NBC network broadcasts as well as MSNBC and CNBC. He has already appeared on the Today Show, Nightly News, and MSNBC during the past few weeks. Read more

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Pope Benedict to be ‘pope emeritus’ or ‘Roman pontiff emeritus’

POPE BENEDICT'S RED SHOES--Pope Benedict will leave behind his emblematic red shoes after ending his papacy Feb. 28. A Vatican official said he will wear brown shoes, beginning with loafers he was given as a gift last March during a visit to Leon, Mexico. (CNS photo/Derek Blair, Reuters)

Pope Benedict XVI will continue to be known as Pope Benedict and addressed as “His Holiness,” but after his resignation, he will add the title “emeritus” in one of two acceptable forms, either “pope emeritus” or “Roman pontiff emeritus.” Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said decisions about how the pope would be addressed and what he would wear were made in consultation with Pope Benedict and with Card. Tarcisio Bertone, the chamberlain of the church, along with others. After Feb. 28, Pope Benedict will continue to wear a white cassock, but it will be a simplified version of the papal vestment, mainly without the little white cape piece on the shoulders, Fr. Lombardi told reporters Feb. 26. Pope Benedict will leave behind his emblematic red shoes. Instead, he will wear brown shoes, beginning with loafers he was given as a gift last March during a visit to Leon, Mexico. The Jesuit said the pope has found the zapatos to be very comfortable. The safety of the pope emeritus will be ensured by the Vatican police, Fr. Lombardi said. Three hours before his pontificate ends, Pope Benedict intends to fly by helicopter to the papal summer villa at Castel Gandolfo.

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Conclave start date might not be known until after March 4

EMBLEM OF VACANT HOLY SEE--Vatican insignia representing a vacant Holy See is used during the period known as the “interregnum”. The Holy See will be considered vacant with the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI Feb. 28. (CNS photo/Nancy Phelan Wiechec)

It is possible the world’s cardinals will not begin meeting at the Vatican until March 4, and they cannot set a start date for the conclave until they have met, the Vatican spokesman said. Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said Card. Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, will send out letters March 1–a Friday–formally informing the world’s cardinals that the papacy is vacant and calling them to meet at the Vatican. “It is likely they will not meet Saturday or Sunday,” he said, so the meetings are unlikely to begin before Mon., March 4. As of Feb. 26, he said, it was impossible to say how long the cardinals would want to meet before they feel ready to announce a date for the conclave to begin. Read more

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