Italian bishops fete wrong pope

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Associated Press

Posted on March 14, 2013 at 5:33 AM

Updated Thursday, Mar 14 at 7:35 AM

MILAN, Italy (AP) — Italian bishops were quick to congratulate the new pope. Too quick: They got the wrong man.

The Italian Bishops' Conference Wednesday sent a congratulatory email to one of their own, Milan Cardinal Scola — tipped as a hot conclave favorite. They quickly corrected themselves and issued 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 gotten it wrong: They sent bells pealing shortly before the announcement "Habemus Papam!" — "We have a pope!"

Once again, the old adage holds: Enter the conclave a pope, leave a cardinal.

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