On March 13, the cardinals of the
Catholic Church, gathered to elect a successor to a living Pope for the first
time in 600 years, announced a dramatic shift. By elevating Cardinal Jorge
Mario Bergoglio of Argentina to become Pope Francis the 266th Pontiff, the cardinals
were naming the first ever Pope from the growing New World to take the helm of
the church at a crucial moment.
It was a stunning move by a two
thousand year old institution that has immense influence, with over a billion
adherents worldwide, and huge problems, including a decade-old sex-abuse
scandal that has shattered faith in the institution, a shortage of priests and
secular trends that have drained the church of members and challenged its
relevancy in a changing world.
From the shocking decision by Pope
Benedict XVI to retire, to the introduction of Pope Francis, from the back
streets of Buenos Aires to the front row at St. Peter’s Square, reporters from The
Wall Street Journal have chronicled these dramatic weeks in the life of the
oldest institution in the world. Download and start listening now!