by Steven Ertelt
April 19, 2005
The Vatican (LifeNews.com) — White smoke rising from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel and the tolling of bells signaled the election of a new Pope for the Catholic Church on Tuesday.
Whomever the world’s Catholic cardinals have chosen as the leader of the church will have big shoes to fill as Pope John Paul II will be remembered for helping to usher in the fall of communism and for his strong defense of the church’s pro-life views.
The new pope was elected on just four or vote ballots and only 24 hours after the beginning of the conclave, the secret voting process. Observers say that means the cardinals were quickly able to unite around a candidate to lead world’s Catholics.
As tens of thousands of people congregated in St. Peter’s Square, the bells continued to chime for 10 minutes after they first began.
The announcement of the name of the new Pope is expected shortly.
The new pontiff will have a looming pro-life legacy to fill.
Father David O’Connell, President of Catholic University in Washington, told Voice of America that the Pope leaves behind a pro-life legacy in which he reasserted the moral values the Catholic Church holds dear.
"His talking about abortion reflects his consistent belief and conviction and the consistent belief of the Catholic church in the sacredness of human life and every human life from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death," Father O’Connell said.
"And he was unwavering in his speaking about that, writing about that, and dealing with that issue within our world," Father O’Connell explained.