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And the new pope is . . .

1 p.m. Update: 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.

Update 12:12 p.m.: The new pope is Jorge Bergoglio and he will be called Pope Francis. He is from Argentina.


The Catholic church has chosen a new pope.

White smoke is billowing from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel, meaning 115 cardinals in a papal conclave have elected a new leader for the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.

The new pope is expected to appear on the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica within an hour, after a church official announces "Habemus Papum", "We have a pope", and gives the name of the new pontiff in Latin.

The conclave was called after Pope Benedict XVI resigned last month, throwing the church into turmoil and exposing deep divisions among cardinals tasked with finding a manager to clean up a corrupt Vatican bureaucracy as well as a pastor who can revive Catholicism in a time of growing secularism.



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