VATICAN CITY (CBS) – Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina has been elected as the 266th pope of the Roman Catholic Church.
He has taken the name Pope Francis I.
He is 76 years old and the first Jesuit pope. His parents were Italian immigrants and he was appointed by Pope John Paul II.
It’s the first time in 2,000 years that a pope has been chosen from the “new world,” the first from South America.
The announcement came from the Senior Cardinal Deacon a little more than an hour after white smoke appeared from the Sistine Chapel chimney and bells rang through St. Peter’s Square around 2:04 p.m. Boston time Wednesday, the first signal that a new pope had been elected.
Pope Francis I appeared on the Vatican balcony overlooking the square around 3:20 p.m, where a crowd of thousands of people waiting in the rain cheered as they saw him.
“I came here as a bishop of Rome,” Francis I told the crowd. “I thank you for this greeting you give me. Thank you so much. But above all, I would like to declare a prayer for our beloved Bendict XVI.”
He then led the crowd in the Lord’s Prayer as the College of Cardinals filled the nearby balconies.
Boston Archbishop Cardinal Sean O’Malley and 114 other cardinals had been trying to select a new pope since the conclave began Tuesday.
The new pope was chosen on the fifth ballot.
The first vote was held Tuesday afternoon and no cardinal had the required 77 votes, which is a two-thirds majority, so heavy black smoke poured from the chapel’s chimney.
The cardinals held mass early Wednesday morning and went back to work at 4:30 a.m. Boston time.
Four votes were conducted today. Two in the morning and two in the afternoon.
In the last two papal elections, a pope was chosen on the second day of voting. If you look at the last six conclaves, the average time was 1.8 days with six ballots.
Eight years ago, Pope Benedict XVI was elected in afternoon voting on the fourth ballot.