White smoke began wafting from the Sistine Chapel chimney shortly after 1 p.m. CT (7 p.m.) today. Bells also rang, signaling that the Cardinals’ conclave had chosen a new leader of the Catholic Church. After only two days of deliberation, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio has been elected pope.
Bergoglio has chosen the papal name “Francis.” He is the first non-European pope in the church’s history, and the first South American. Pope Francis was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he has spent all his years of service.
Pope Francis asked the crowd to pray for each other and for the entire world, and said that there is “great brotherhood” in the world. “And now let’s start working together, walking together in the church of Rome, which presides over all the churches,” he said. The new pope then asked the crowd to pray together in silence, blessed them and thanked them for their welcome, and left the balcony.
Alisha Mims is a writer and researcher for Ring of Fire.