Argentine Jorge Bergoglio elected pope

By Nicole Winfield (Associated Press) Published:

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Argentine Jorge Bergoglio was elected pope Wednesday and chose the papal name Francis, becoming first pontiff from the Americas and the first from outside Europe in more than a millennium.

A stunned-looking Bergoglio shyly waved to the crowd of tens of thousands of people who gathered in St. Peter's Square, marveling that the cardinals had had to look to "the end of the earth" to find a bishop of Rome.

He asked for prayers for himself, and for retired Pope Benedict XVI, whose stunning resignation paved the way for the tumultuous conclave that brought the first Jesuit to the papacy. The cardinal electors overcame deep divisions to select the 266th pontiff in a remarkably fast conclave.

Bergoglio had reportedly finished second in the 2005 conclave that produced Benedict — who last month became the first pope to resign in 600 years.

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.

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 who braved cold rain to watch the smokestack atop the Sistine Chapel jumped in joy when white smoke poured out a few minutes past 7 p.m., many shouting "Habemus Papam!" or "We have a pope!" — as the bells of St. Peter's Basilica and churches across Rome pealed.

Chants of "Long live the pope!" arose from the throngs of faithful, many with tears in their eyes. Crowds went wild as the Vatican and Italian military bands marched through the square and up the steps of the basilica, followed by Swiss Guards in silver helmets and full regalia.

They played the introduction to the Vatican and Italian anthems and the crowd, which numbered at least 50,000, joined in, waving flags from countries around the world.

"I can't explain how happy I am right down," said Ben Canete, a 32-year-old Filipino, jumping up and down in excitement.

Elected on the fifth ballot, Francis was chosen in one of the fastest conclaves in years, remarkable given there was no clear front-runner going into the vote and that the church had been in turmoil following the upheaval unleashed by Pope Benedict XVI's surprise resignation.

A winner must receive 77 votes, or two-thirds of the 115, to be named pope.

For comparison's sake, Benedict was elected on the fourth ballot in 2005 — but he was the clear front-runner going into the vote. Pope John Paul II was elected on the eighth ballot in 1978 to become the first non-Italian pope in 455 years.

Patrizia Rizzo ran down the main boulevard to the piazza with her two children as soon as she heard the news on the car radio. "I parked the car ... and dashed to the square, she said. "It's so exciting, as Romans we had to come."

POPES OF THE 20TH AND 21ST CENTURIES

Pope Francis — March 13, 2013-

Benedict XVI — April 19, 2005-Feb. 28, 2013.

John Paul II — Oct. 16, 1978-April 2, 2005.

John Paul I — Aug. 26-Sept. 28, 1978.

Paul VI — June 21, 1963-Aug. 6, 1978.

John XXIII — Oct. 28, 1958-June 3, 1963.

Pius XII — March 2, 1939-Oct. 9, 1958.

Pius XI — Feb. 6, 1922-Feb. 10, 1939.

Benedict XV — Sept. 3, 1914-Jan. 22, 1922.

Pius X — Aug. 4, 1903-Aug. 20, 1914.

Leo XIII — Feb. 20, 1878-July 20, 1903.

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  • Yeah, he is kinda creepy in that way. Wonder when they are going to remove his posting rights again. Talk like that got him in trouble last time around.

  • Need4speed, you are so right, 1713 is just thata way. Wow, he really needs to see a specialist.

  • mom3, need4speed is right, the Sheriff's Office is "just thata way ma'am"...and so is the Catholic Church. Is the Sheriff Catholic? Who knows, but he could be! Please explain in detail exactly what I said that was incorrect? There was an article just last week about the Sheriff's Office finding drugs in a girl's bedroom drawers. Now if you were a girl, and you wanted to hide your stash, which drawer would YOU hide it in? And do you think that the Sheriff's Office didn't go through her panty drawers with sweaty, grubby paws touching everything in there (and in Detective Brown's case, pocketing valuables)? Really? You don't know much about drug raids then, do you? Why do you think that the KSP has an ongoing investigation on our Sheriff's Office? If that ain't enough to disturb need4speed, it says a lot more about him than me.

  • He's just thata way ma'am. Everybody is disturbed except for him...

  • 1713, what's your fascination with sexual abuse and the sheriff going through young girl's underwear drawers? You are a very disturbed.

  • How charming he chose a wooden cross over gold! Now maybe he will share some of the wealth of the world's richest institution with the poor that they helped create by telling gullible people to not use birth control. How pitiful that millions of people cheer this odious nonsense.

  • There is something about this whole process that is so 16th century. Why so much excitement for the election of a leader of a religion that lost its moral authority a very long time ago? The old child molesters and those that enabled them are still around. And the old pope Ratzinger is still in the Vatican just a few doors down, sharing the same 'Remarkably Handsome' Male Secretary with the new pope. Like the dude said, "It's so exciting, as Romans we had to come."!