Rome: A gathering of Catholic cardinals picked a new pope from among their midst on Wednesday — choosing the cardinal from Argentina, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the first South American to ever lead the church.
The new pope will be called Francis, the 266th pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church. He is also the first non-European leader of the church in more than 1,000 years.
The suspense of the new pope ended after white smoke emerged from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel. Thousands of rain-soaked faithful cheered after cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran announced the name of new pope.
Pope Francis, dressed in white robes with a heavy cross around his neck and surrounded by red-clad cardinals, looks solemn as he surveys the crowd to fanfares from the bands below.
In his first speech after being elected as a pope, Jorge Mario Bergoglio said, “As you know, the duty of the conclave was to appoint a bishop of Rome,” he told a cheering crowd of thousands packed into St. Peter’s Square.
“It seems to me that my brother cardinals have chosed one who is from faraway. … Here I am. I would like to thank you for your embrace.”
“Habemus papam!,” members of the crowd shouted in Latin, waving umbrellas and flags. “We have a pope!” Others cried “Viva il Papa!”
“It was like waiting for the birth of a baby, only better, ” said a Roman man. A child sitting atop his father’s shoulders waved a crucifix.