Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, from Argentina, was announced as the new pope at the Vacatican Wednesday evening. He is the first Jesuit to lead the world's Catholics.
Bells rang out, crowds cheered and white smoke poured from the Sistine Chapel after the 115 cardinal electors chose the new pontiff in conclave. White smoke is produced by burning the ballots; black smoke, which would have meant an unsuccessful vote, is produced by the addition of a chemical.
The new pope will have to handle a variety of challenges, from pederast priests to Vatican Bank scandals.
The successful election occurred on the second day of the conclave, on the fourth vote.
Catholic cardinals were in good spirits despite failing to reach a consensus on a new pope in three rounds of voting, Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi told the Italian news agency ANSA.
Black smoke billowing from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel Wednesday morning signaled the selection of a new pope was still elusive. Two more votes were scheduled after lunch.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI resigned in February, saying he didn't feel up to the task of carrying out his papal duties.
Despite chilly, rainy weather, crowds thronged St. Peter's Square.
The secrecy of the conclave was meant to protect the voting cardinals from outside scrutiny as they sought divine guidance, the Times reported.
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