According to the Guardian, the new pope (Jorge Mario Bergoglio) took his name from Saint Francis of Assisi (depicted above), who is the patron saint of animals. This would be a wonderful opportunity for the Roman Catholic Church, which has 1.2 billion adherents, to drive home the point that animals are not resources for human use but fellow denizens of the planet, with lives, a good, and a dignity of their own.
Addendum: My friend Jeff wrote to tell me that the new pope took his name from Francis Xavier, a Jesuit. See here. This is getting interesting. I suspect that Jeff is right, since the new pope is a Jesuit, not a Franciscan. I hope it turns out that both Francises inspired the choice, one because of his love of and respect for animals and one because of his missionary zeal.
Addendum 2: CNN is reporting that, according to a Vatican spokesman, the name is in honor of Francis of Assisi. I want to hear it from the new pope, not a spokesman.
Addendum 3: NBC Washington is speculating that it's Francis Xavier.
Addendum 4: Vatican Radio is reporting that Pope Francis has not disclosed the inspiration for his name. It goes on to "presume" that it's Saint Francis of Assisi. I have no idea what the basis of this presumption is. Many journalists appear to be leaping to conclusions, perhaps because they want a reformer rather than a missionary as pope.