WHITE SMOKE IS curling above Rome’s Sistine Chapel – meaning a new pope has been chosen to lead the Roman Catholic Church.
The Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio has been named as the new pontiff: his new name will be Francesco (Francis).
Tens of thousands of faithful braved the cold and rain in St Peter’s Square in anticipation of the announcement regarding Benedict XVI’s successor, as the Catholic Church held their conclave in the Chapel.
The 115 cardinals cast their ballots to determine who should become the 265th successor to St Peter as the leader of the world’s Catholics, announcing Jorge Mario Bergoglio as the new pope this evening.
It was necessary for Jorge Mario Bergoglio to receive at least two-thirds of the vote, equivalent to the support of 77 voters, to be chosen as pope.
Addressing the faithful
The 76-year-old emerged from the balcony of St Peter’s Basilica to the cry of “Habemus Papam!” (“We Have a Pope!”), as tens of thousands of pilgrims clambered over barriers and broke down in tears, overcome with emotion after suspenseful prayer vigils worldwide.
Bergoglio is the first Jesuit to become pope and is believed to have been the runner-up in 2005.
The first wisps of smoke in the evening sky prompted cries of “Long live the pope!” from pilgrims clutching rosaries and waving flags in the square, where the image of the tiny copper chimney was projected onto four giant screens.
Bergoglio, who is the 266th pope in the Catholic Church’s 2,000-year history, retired to a chamber known as the “Room of Tears” immediately after the nomination to don his papal vestments and then prayed in the Pauline Chapel.
“I didn’t think I would cry but I guess the adrenalin’s taking over!” said Rebecca Hine, a student from Canada who had waited two days in the rain.
“I’m overjoyed!” said a tearful Veronica, a nun from Botswana. “I’m so emotional I can hardly speak!”
A breathless Ruud, a 31-year-old Dutch tourist, said: “We were having dinner nearby and heard a roar, and raced here to see for ourselves.”
Upon addressing the crowds that had gathered for the announcement, Pope Francis Pope Francis I called for a “brotherhood” in the Church and prayed for “pope emeritus” Benedict XVI.
Additional reporting by - © AFP, 2013
Natacha Pisarenko/AP/Press Association Images