How It Ended Up Being Bergoglio

A front-runner, Scola, got a mistaken email of congratulations

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 15, 2013 2:50 AM CDT | Updated Mar 15, 2013 4:01 AM CDT

(Newser) – Insiders are beginning to open up about how they chose Jorge Bergoglio as the new pope. For one thing, he wasn't part of the Vatican's troubled Curia hierarchy, but it was believed he could help heal it, the New York Times reports. It also helped that he didn't stake out a high public profile and project himself as a candidate beforehand, which can backfire in the world of Vatican politics. "He is not part of the Italian system, but also at the same time, because of his culture and background, he was Italo-compatible," says the archbishop of Paris. "If there was a chance that someone could intervene with justice in this situation, he was the man who could do it best."

Among the questions cardinals asked themselves: "'Is he a man of the faith who connects us to Christ?'" said Chicago's archbishop. "Next, 'Can he govern?'" Lastly, he won points for "the fact that he has a heart for the poor." Bergoglio's pre-vote speech to the private conclave helped his selection, the Los Angeles Times notes; he offered a succinct call for a streamlined church free of corruption. But his selection was by no means a foregone conclusion; indeed, Cardinal Angelo Scola, described as a favorite of reformers, received a mistaken email of congratulations from Italian bishops shortly after Bergoglio's selection. Bergoglio reportedly led after the first round of voting, with Scola and Canada's Marc Oullet behind him. He gradually built his lead in subsequent rounds until reaching the threshold of 77 votes.

In this March 21 2011 photo, Argentina's Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio touches a baby after a Mass in Buenos Aires, Argentina.   (AP Photo/DyN)
In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Francis celebrates his inaugural Mass with cardinals, inside the Sistine Chapel, at the Vatican, Thursday, March 14, 2013.   (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, ho)
In this Feb. 21, 2001 photo released by the Buenos Aires Archbishop Office, Pope John Paul II, left, embraces Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio.   (AP Photo/Buenos Aires Archbishop Office)
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