BREAKING NEWS: VATICAN CITY (AP) – Argentine Jorge Bergoglio has been elected pope, the first ever from the Americas and the first from outside Europe in more than a millennium. He chose the name Pope Francis. source – AP

white-smoke-sistine-chapel-signals-new-pope-vatican-march-12-2013

White smoke at Sistine Chapel signals election of new pope

The decision by 115 cardinal electors came sooner than many faithful expected because of the large number of possible frontrunners identified before the vote to replace Pope Benedict, who resigned in February.

The name of the new leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics was expected to be announced in around half an hour from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica.

The secret conclave began on Tuesday night with a first ballot in the Renaissance splendor of the chapel and four ballots were held on Wednesday.

The white smoke indicated the new pontiff had obtained the required two thirds majority in the fifth ballot.

Following a split ballot when they were first shut away amid the chapel’s Renaissance splendor on Tuesday evening, the cardinal electors held a first full day of deliberations on Wednesday. Black smoke rose after the morning session to signal no decision.

Cheers arose from hundreds of people sheltering from incessant rain under a sea of umbrellas in St. Peter’s Square as the white smoke billowed from the narrow chimney. source – JPost