Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina has been chosen as the new pope. He is the first people from the Western Hemisphere and will be known at Francis I.
The task of the College of Cardinals was to select a successor to Benedict XVI. To be chosen, a candidate had to win the support of at least two-thirds of the 115 voting-age cardinals.
Anticipation over the identity of the new pope began to build once a puff of white smoke emerged from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel, in Vatican City.
Bergoglio, now spiritual father to the planet's 1.2 billion Catholics, inherits a church wrestling with an array of challenges that intensified during his predecessor - from a priest shortage and growing competition from evangelical churches in the Southern Hemisphere where most of the world's Catholics live, to a sexual abuse crisis, to difficulties governing the Vatican itself.
Benedict, now pope emeritus, spent much of Tuesday watching the pre-conclave proceedings on television and secluded in prayer, said Rev. Frederico Lombardi, a Vatican spokesman.
U.S. lawmakers quickly weighed in on the pope's selection. "Congratulations and best wishes to the new Pope, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio," tweeted Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.)
And Rep. Ron DeSantis (@RepDeSantis) wrote, "Congratulations to Pope Francis from Argentina. #HabemusPapam".
Via The New York Times, and Politix reporting.