Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, 76, the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, has been elected Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church. Bergoglio has taken the name Francis, after Saint Francis of Assisi. He is the first pope from the Americas, the first Jesuit pope, and the first to take the name Francis. He is also the first non-European pope in about 1,200 years.
The election was announced at 7:06 p.m. in Rome (2:06 p.m. Eastern) with traditional white smoke from the chimney of the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel and bells ringing in Saint Peter’s Square. The dean of the College or Cardinals announced the name of the new pope just over one hour later.
Pope Benedict XVI stepped down at the end of February, becoming the first pontiff to resign in nearly six hundred years. The conclave to select his replacement began on Tuesday. Popes must be elected by a two-thirds majority of cardinal-electors, a threshold that was met on the fifth ballot cycle.