VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, was elected the 266th pope and took the name Francis.
The election March 13 came on the second day of voting, on the fifth ballot. It was a surprisingly quick conclusion to a conclave that began with many plausible candidates and no clear favorite.
The new pope was chosen by at least two-thirds of the 115 cardinal-electors from 48 countries, who cast their ballots in secret in the Sistine Chapel.
His election was announced in Latin from the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica to a massive crowd under the rain in the square below, and to millions watching around the world.
White smoke poured from the Sistine Chapel chimney at 7:05 p.m., signaling that the cardinals had chosen a successor to retired Pope Benedict XVI. Two minutes later, the bells of St. Peter’s Basilica began pealing to confirm the election.
At 8:12 p.m., French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, the senior cardinal in the order of deacons, appeared at the basilica balcony and read out in Latin: “I announce to you a great joy: We have a pope! The most eminent and most reverend lord, Lord Jorge Maria, Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church, Bergoglio, who has taken for himself the name Francis.”
The crowd in the square responded with cheers, applause and the waving of rain-soaked national flags.
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