MILAN, Italy – 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.