New pope must address communication challenges

The College of Cardinals elected Argentinian Cardinal Bergoglio the new pope, the first pontiff from South America. He will need to be a strong communicator in the modern age.

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He took the name Francis.

It is a historic choice, as the 76-year-old Pope Francis becomes the first Latin American pontiff—nearly 40 percent of Roman Catholics are hispanic—as well as the first pope to come from the Jesuit order.

“It’s stunning but good news,” said Susan Tellem, a partner at Tellem Grody Public Relations, Inc, and lifelong Catholic. “He’s a Jesuit, which I am happy to hear. They tend to be very tough but more forward thinking.”

Thousands of jubilant Catholics converged on a soggy square in Vatican City to see the new pope emerge from the Sistine Chapel. In the social media world, mentions related to the cardinals’ selection took over the trending topics list, among them, “Habemus Papam,” which is Latin for “We have a pope.” The phrase adorned the Vatican website, marking the first time the church made the announcement of its pope selection online.

The identity of the new pontiff was not revealed until he walked onto the balcony, surrounded by the cardinals who elected him.

In brief remarks, Pope Francis thanked the crowd in Vatican City and prayed.

Challenges the new pontiff will face

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