After several of voting, the conclave of cardinals convened in the Sistine Chapel has chosen a new pope to lead the Catholic Church.
White smoke was shown billowing from the chapel’s chimney on Wednesday, which means that two-thirds (or 77) of the 115 cardinals convened voted for the same man.
French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, the senior cardinal in the order of the deacons, stepped onto the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica and announced, “Habemus Papam,” Latin for “We have a pope.”
The new pope is Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio – and he has chosen to go by the name of Francis.
The 76-year-old archbishop of Buenos Aires, who is the first pontiff elected from the Americas, has spent nearly his entire career at home in Argentina, overseeing churches and priests.
Following Tauran’s announcement, he appeared to greet the thousands of people gathered at St. Peter’s Square and lead them in prayer. Pope Francis is recognized by 1.2 billion Roman Catholics around the world.
Earlier Wednesday, black smoke appeared – signaling that the first three votes failed to result in an election. However, this is not uncommon. According to Vatican spokesman Rev. Frederico Lombardi, the only election that resulted from the third ballot was Pius XII at the beginning of World War II.
Indeed, it took four votes in 2005 to choose Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, better known as Pope Benedict XVI. Benedict, who did not take part in the election, unexpectedly resigned last month for health reasons, making him the first pope to turn in his hat in roughly 600 years.