Italian bishops issue press release thanking God for wrong pope

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Pope Francis, formerly Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, is the first non-European pope of the modern era, and the first from South America. Many of the early actions of his papacy have gained viral acclaim. (Photo: CNN)

DENVER —  Italian bishops were so convinced that one of their own would become pope that they sent a message to the media thanking God for the election of a prelate from Milan, Yahoo reported.

Unfortunately for them, cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina had already been named to the post.

The secretary-general of the Italian conference, Monsignor Mariano Crociata, expressed “joy and thanks” to God for the election of Cardinal Angelo Scola of Milan in a statement sent to reporters at 8:23 p.m. (1:23 p.m. MST) on Wednesday night.

About 10 minutes earlier, Bergoglio had made his first appearance before the crowds in St. Peter’s Square.

At 9:08 p.m. (2:08 p.m. MST), the Italian bishops conference sent another statement thanking God for the election of the pope, but this time got the name right.

In the days leading up the secret conclave, many Italian newspapers openly promoted Scola as the next pope.

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