VATICAN CITY (AP) - Argentine Jorge Bergoglio was elected pope today and chose the papal name Francis, becoming first pontiff from the Americas and the first from outside Europe in more than a millennium.
A stunned-looking Bergoglio shyly waved to the crowd of tens of thousands of people who gathered in St. Peter's Square, marveling that the cardinals had had to look to "the end of the earth" to find a bishop of Rome.
He asked for prayers for himself, and for retired Pope Benedict XVI, whose stunning resignation paved the way for the tumultuous conclave that brought the first Jesuit to the papacy. The cardinal electors overcame deep divisions to select the 266th pontiff in a remarkably fast conclave.
Pope Francis waves to the crowd from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican today. Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio who chose the name of Francis is the 266th pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church.
The Associated Press
Bergoglio had reportedly finished second in the 2005 conclave that produced Benedict- who last month became the first pope to resign in 600 years.
The 76-year-old archbishop of Buenos Aires has spent nearly his entire career at home in Argentina, overseeing churches and shoe-leather priests.
Look for more coverage in Thursday's edition of The Leader-Herald.