Belfast Telegraph

Monday 15 September 2014

Oops..bishops salute the wrong pope

Italian bishops initially congratulated the wrong man when the new pope was elected (AP)

Italian bishops were quick to congratulate the new pope. Too quick - they got the wrong man.

The Italian Bishops' Conference on Wednesday sent a congratulatory email to one of their own, Milan Cardinal Scola - tipped as a hot conclave favourite.

They had to quickly correct themselves and issue a new message to the real winner, Argentine Jorge Bergoglio.

Conventional wisdom had it that a quick result - and this conclave was quick, with the white smoke coming on just the second day - could only mean consensus had built around a top name.

Churches in Milan also seem to have got it wrong: they sent bells pealing shortly before the announcement "Habemus Papam!" - "We have a pope!"

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