RELIGION
03/13/2013 02:10 pm ET Updated Mar 14, 2013

White Smoke At Sistine Chapel Indicates Pope Election (UPDATED)

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White smoke appeared at the Sistine Chapel chimney on Wednesday afternoon indicating that a pope has been elected and has accepted the position. According to Catholic tradition, the newly appointed Bishop of Rome is the 265th successor of St. Peter and leader of the worldwide Catholic Church consisting of 1.2 billion Catholics.

The white smoke appeared at 7:05 p.m. CET (2:05 p.m. EDT / 11:05 a.m. PDT) after five rounds of voting. In 2005, Benedict XVI was elected on the second day after four rounds of voting.

UPDATE: Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires has been elected to be the 266th pope of the Catholic Church, taking the name Pope Francis.

The Catholic Church's 115 cardinal electors voted in this papal election, and the newly appointed pontiff has received at least 77 votes.

With the next hour or so, the big bell of St. Peter's Basilica is supposed to ring confirming the election. In 2005, there were approximately 40 minutes between the smoke signal and the ringing of the bell.

French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, the senior cardinal deacon, will appear on the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica to shout "Habemus Papam!" ("We have a pope!). He'll present the new pope, who will be in white papal cassocks (three sizes are kept on reserve) and give his first blessing as pope.

This is a developing story. Stay tuned for more.

From the AP:

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Cardinals elected a new pope to lead the world's 1.2 billion Catholics on Wednesday, overcoming deep divisions to select the 266th pope in a remarkably fast conclave.

Tens of thousands of people who braved cold rain to watch the smokestack atop the Sistine Chapel jumped in joy when white smoke poured out, many shouting "Habemus Papam!" or "We have a pope!" — as the bells of St. Peter's Basilica and churches across Rome tolled, signaling a pontiff had been chosen.

The pope, whose identity isn't yet known, is due to emerge from the loggia overlooking St. Peter's Square to deliver his first words as the Bishop of Rome.

Elected on the fifth ballot, he was chosen in one of the fastest conclaves in years, remarkable given there was no clear front-runner going into the vote and that the church had been in turmoil following the upheaval unleashed by Pope Benedict XVI's surprise resignation.

A winner must receive 77 votes, or two-thirds of the 115, to be named pope.

The conclave played out against the backdrop of the first papal resignation in 600 years and revelations of mismanagement, petty bickering, infighting and corruption in the Holy See bureaucracy. Those revelations, exposed by the leaks of papal documents last year, had divided the College of Cardinals into camps seeking a radical reform of the Holy See's governance and those defending the status quo.

The names mentioned most often as "papabile" — a cardinal who has the stuff of a pope — include Cardinal Angelo Scola, the archbishop of Milan, an intellect in the vein of Benedict but with a more outgoing personality, and Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the Canadian head of the Vatican's important bishops' office who is also scholarly but reserved like Benedict.

Brazilian Cardinal Odilo Scherer is liked by the Vatican bureaucracy but not by all of his countrymen. And Cardinal Peter Erdo of Hungary has the backing of European cardinals who have twice elected him as head of the European bishops' conference.

On the more pastoral side is Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston, the favorite of the Italian press, and Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the back-slapping, outgoing archbishop of New York who has admitted himself that his Italian is pretty bad — a drawback for a job that is conducted almost exclusively in the language.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of the article incorrectly stated that the pope is the 266th successor of St. Peter. He is the 265th successor and the 266th pope.

HuffPost

BEFORE YOU GO

PHOTO GALLERY
New Pope Elected

03/13/2013 5:57 PM EDT

Pope Francis Has Only One Lung

HuffPost's Amanda Chan reports:

Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who was elected to be Pope Francis today (March 13), only has one lung, according to news reports.

The 76-year-old from Buenos Aires had to have his other lung removed when he was a teenager because of an infection, the Associated Press reported.

Continue reading here.

03/13/2013 5:26 PM EDT

Pope Francis is the First Pope From the Americas

AP reports:

Pope Francis is the first ever from the Americas, an austere Jesuit intellectual who modernized Argentina's conservative Catholic church.

Known until Wednesday as Jorge Bergoglio, the 76-year-old is known as a humble man who denied himself the luxuries that previous Buenos Aires cardinals enjoyed. He came close to becoming pope last time, reportedly gaining the second-highest vote total in several rounds of voting before he bowed out of the running in the conclave that elected Pope Benedict XVI.

Continue reading here.

03/13/2013 5:09 PM EDT

Statement from Cardinal Seán O’Malley, OFM, Cap.

I join my brother Cardinals in giving thanks to God for the election of Pope Francis I, the 266th successor of St. Peter and Vicar of Christ. The clergy, religious and laity of the Archdiocese of Boston celebrate this blessing for the Church.

At Caesarea Philippi, Jesus commissioned St. Peter the rock upon which the Church would be built. Pope Francis continues that mission in an increasingly secular culture, where many people have not come to know or have forgotten that Jesus is our Savior and Redeemer. The world will greatly benefit from Pope Francis witnessing Jesus’ call for us to love God and love one another. We pledge our faithful support for the Holy Father as he leads the Church in proclaiming the New Evangelization, inviting all people to a develop a closer relationship with Christ and to share that gift with others.

May God grant Pope Francis the grace and strength to lead the worldwide community of more than one billion Catholics. The Holy Father has already shown us his deep humility in the invitation to pray with him, for him and for the Church. We pray that the Holy Spirit, who led us to choose the Holy Father, will guide him in witnessing the eternal truths of our faith.

03/13/2013 4:42 PM EDT

New Pope Francis of Argentina

pope francis

Newly elected Pope Francis I appears on the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica on March 13, 2013 in Vatican City, Vatican. Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected as the 266th Pontiff and will lead the world's 1.2 billion Catholics. (Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

03/13/2013 4:31 PM EDT

@ RachelDonadio :

Installation Mass for new pope will be Tuesday, March 19 at 9 a.m.

03/13/2013 4:28 PM EDT

Statement by the President on His Holiness Pope Francis

On behalf of the American people, Michelle and I offer our warm wishes to His Holiness Pope Francis as he ascends to the Chair of Saint Peter and begins his papacy. As a champion of the poor and the most vulnerable among us, he carries forth the message of love and compassion that has inspired the world for more than two thousand years—that in each other we see the face of God. As the first pope from the Americas, his selection also speaks to the strength and vitality of a region that is increasingly shaping our world, and alongside millions of Hispanic Americans, those of us in the United States share the joy of this historic day. Just as I appreciated our work with Pope Benedict XVI, I look forward to working with His Holiness to advance peace, security and dignity for our fellow human beings, regardless of their faith. We join with people around the world in offering our prayers for the Holy Father as he begins the sacred work of leading the Catholic Church in our modern world.

03/13/2013 3:40 PM EDT

Pontifex Sends Out First Tweet Since Sede Vacante

@ Pontifex :

HABEMUS PAPAM FRANCISCUM

03/13/2013 3:18 PM EDT

@ HuffPostRelig :

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio's new name is Francis I. He is 76 years old, and is the first Jesuit pope. #habemuspapam

03/13/2013 3:15 PM EDT

@ HuffPostRelig :

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, Argentina has been announced as the new pope #habemuspapam

03/13/2013 3:06 PM EDT

Thanksgiving Mass Tonight

@ jaweedkaleem :

churches are already planning thanksgiving masses for the new election -- philly archdiocese will have one tonight #conclave

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