Argentinian Cardinal Named New Pope
by The Associated Press,
VATICAN CITY (AP) - The new Pope Francis -- Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina -- has appeared on the balcony above St. Peter's Square, waving to the tens of thousands of people who were gathered below.
Francis looked stunned as he faced the cheering crowd. He asked for prayers for himself and for retired Pope Benedict, whose resignation paved the way for the conclave that chose the Argentinian today.
After announcing "Habemus Papum" -- or "We have a pope!" -- a cardinal on the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica revealed the identity of the new pontiff, using his Latin name.
The crowd had braved cold, rainy weather to watch the smokestack atop the Sistine Chapel. They jumped for joy when white smoke poured from the chimney a few minutes past 7 p.m. Chants of "Long live the pope!" arose from the faithful, many with tears in their eyes.
Francis is the first pontiff from the Americas, and the first from outside Europe in more than a millennium.
Pope Francis has been known for years as a humble man who denied himself the luxuries that previous Buenos Aires cardinals enjoyed.
He often rode the bus to work, cooked his own meals and regularly visited the slums that ring Argentina's capital. He considers social outreach, rather than doctrinal battles, to be the essential business of the church.
He has in the past accused fellow church leaders of hypocrisy and forgetting that Jesus Christ bathed lepers and ate with prostitutes.
The new pope, who is 76, has spent nearly his entire career at home in Argentina, overseeing churches and shoe-leather priests.
Francis is known for modernizing an Argentine church that had been among the most conservative in Latin America.
In his first appearance in St. Peter's Square as the new pope today, Francis wore a simple white robe.