The election of Argentinian Cardinal-Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio, SJ, to be Pope Francis I is historic in four senses. The new pontiff is the first non-European to be Bishop of Rome for a millennium, the first Jesuit, the first from Latin America, and the first with deep origins in the industrial working class.
As black smoke continued to rise above the Sistine Chapel earlier today, and as speculation bubbled in inverse proportion to the amount of information coming out of the Vatican about the papal conclave (that is, given the secrecy surrounding it, virtually none), journalists were faced with the task of finding something to do to 'keep the story alive'.
This morning the 115 cardinals begin their period in conclave, where they will choose the next pontiff of the 1.2 billion strong Roman Catholic Church, by celebrating Mass before beginning their deliberations in the Sistine Chapel.
But who are the men who will seek a common mind on the new leader of the largest Christian communion in the world?
A television documentary following British church leaders on a recent pre-Christmas 'pilgrimage of peace' to the Israel Palestine ‚Ä' and particularly Bethlehem, traditionally held to be the birthplace of Jesus ‚Ä' is due to be screened this weekend.