Updated Thu, Mar 14, 2013 9:15 am
UPDATE 3:30 PM 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.
Tens of thousands of people have been celebrating in St. Peter's Square, after the news that cardinals meeting in the Sistine Chapel have chosen a new pope.
The crowd gathered in a cold rain to watch the smokestack atop the chapel. And people jumped for joy when white smoke poured out, a signal that the cardinals had elected a successor to Pope Benedict.
Many chanted "Habemus Papam, or "We have a pope," as the bells of St. Peter's Basilica and churches across Rome tolled.
The pope is due to emerge shortly on a balcony overlooking St. Peter's Square to deliver his first words as the Bishop of Rome.
He was elected on the fifth ballot -- chosen in one of the fastest conclaves in years. And a quick decision hadn't been expected, since the church had been in turmoil after Pope Benedict's surprise resignation. The election also came amid revelations of mismanagement, infighting and corruption in the Holy See bureaucracy.
The names mentioned most often among cardinals who could be chosen as pope included Angelo Scola, the archbhishop of Milan, and Marc Ouellet, the Canadian who heads the Vatican's bishops' office.