VATICAN CITY (KDKA/AP) – Argentine Jorge Bergoglio has been elected pope, the first ever from the Americas and the first from outside Europe in more than a millennium. He chose the name Pope Francis.
After announcing “Habemus Papum” – “We have a pope!” – a cardinal standing on the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica on Wednesday revealed the identity of the new pontiff, using his Latin name. Bergoglio had reportedly finished second in the 2005 conclave that produced Benedict XVI – who last month became the first pope to resign in 600 years.
The 76-year-old Archbishop of Buenos Aires has spent nearly his entire career at home in Argentina, overseeing churches and shoe-leather priests. He is now the 266th leader of the Roman Catholic Church.
Bergoglio was elected on the fifth ballot Wednesday, ending the conclave on its second day.
In his first address to the city and to the world, the newly-elected Pope Francis told the crowd in St. Peter’s Square, “Thank you so much for welcoming me, and please pray for me.”
White smoke began billowing from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel around 7 p.m. local time, signifying that 115 cardinals in a papal conclave had elected a new leader for the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.