Cardinal Bergoglio named as new pope

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Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, has been elected to lead the Catholic Church as the new pope. He will become Pope Francis I. 

Bergoglio, 76, is also the first from outside Europe in more than a millennium.

Read more about him here.

White smoke poured from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel and a large crowd in St. Peter's Square cheered in Vatican City, signaling the selection of a new pope. 

The smoke appeared just after 2:00 pm Indiana time.

World leaders are sending their congratulations and Catholics around the world are celebrating after the Vatican announced the election of Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio to the papacy - making him the first pontiff from Americas.

President Barack Obama is offering warm wishes to newly elected Pope Francis.

Obama says the selection of the first pope from the Americas speaks to the strength and vitality of the region. He says millions of Hispanic Americans join him in praying for the new pope.

Obama says the pope serves as a champion of the poor and vulnerable and represents the love and compassion that has inspired the world throughout the Catholic Church's history.

He says he looks forward to working with the pope to promote peace, security and dignity for people of all faiths.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said Wednesday was "a momentous day for the 1.2 billion Catholics around the world." European Union leaders Herman Van Rompuy and Jose Manuel Barroso wished the new Catholic leader "a long and blessed pontificate."

In Latin America, there were tears and cheers at the news that of the first pope from the hemisphere. Even in Communist Cuba, there was pride as church bells rang to celebrate the news.

On Twitter, the pope's mothballed account was revived and read: "HABEMUS PAPAM FRANCISCUM," a reference to the cardinal's new name: Pope Francis.

1.2 billion Catholics around the world have been waiting to find out who will become the next pope.

"Are we surprised by his election? I'd say yes, we're surprised. Even though several cardinals after the conclave in 2005 declared that Cardinal Bergoglio received a lot of support, the fact of his age and the fact that he didn't carry the field the last time led a lot of people to believe he really wasn't in the running," said Indianapolis Archbishop Joseph Tobin, who spoke to reporters at the Catholic Center after the announcement.

"I think you saw that footage from St. Peter's Square where he came out to greet and really spoke directly to the Romans first - after all, his first title is Bishop of Rome; he was speaking to his diocese. Of course, the rest of the world was listening as well," he said.

Tobin points out that Francis' election is a first of many kinds, including the choice of a non-European, the first member of the Jesuits, a major Catholic order and the first person from Latin America. "Pope Francis represents the first time in 1,200 years that a non-European was elected pope," he explained.

A large crowd of people gathered in St. Peter's Square Wednesday, but were disappointed when black smoke billowed from the chimney earlier in the day.

115 eligible cardinals had to reach a two-thirds majority. 

Cardinals voted twice Wednesday in Michelangelo's famed frescoed chapel after a first vote Tuesday in a conclave to elect a successor to Benedict XVI, who stunned the Catholic world last month by becoming the first pope in 600 years to resign.

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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