On the 13 March 2013 puffs of white smoke swirled above the Sistine Chapel proclaiming to the world that a new pope had been elected to succeed Benedict XVI, who resigned on 28 February 2013. Jorge Mario Bergoglio, a relatively unknown Argentinian, emerged on the balcony above St Peter’s Square to be introduced to the world as ‘Francis’. The rain that drenched the Square stopped momentarily. Thousands, huddled together under umbrellas, had braved a stormy Roman evening and rushed to the Square when they heard the bells ringing. Nobody knew that, for the first time in 1,000 years, someone from outside of Europe had been elected. Nobody knew what to expect. Two years later, Francis’ attempts to change things have captured the global imagination and given many hope that the Catholic Church will emerge from years of what seemed like an internal battle, scandal, and stagnation. By RUSSELL POLLITT.