Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio Named Pope
Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio is new pontiff Image by Natacha Pisarenko / AP Cardinal Jorge
VATICAN CITY -- Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires was named leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics on Wednesday after being elected pope.
Minutes earlier, white smoke rose above the Sistine Chapel and bells rang out across Rome, prompting cheers and wild applause from the crowd of tens of thousands gathered in St Peter’s Square in front of the Vatican.
He was introduced to the world – in Latin - from the balcony of St Peter’s Basilica.
The archbishop of Buenos Aires is the Argentine-born son of an Italian railway worker. Seen as a compassionate conservative, he reportedly came in second during the 2005 balloting that ultimately elected Benedict XVI.
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CARDINAL JORGE MARIO BERGOGLIO: Bergoglio, 76, has spent nearly his entire career at home in Argentina, overseeing churches and shoe-leather priests.
The archbishop of Buenos Aires reportedly got the second-most votes after Joseph Ratzinger in the 2005 papal election, and he has long specialized in the kind of pastoral work that some say is an essential skill for the next pope.
In a lifetime of teaching and leading priests in Latin America, which has the largest share of the world's Catholics, Bergoglio has shown a keen political sensibility as well as the kind of self-effacing humility that fellow cardinals value highly.
Bergoglio is known for modernizing an Argentine church that had been among the most conservative in Latin America.
Watch a live streaming video of Vatican City from NBC News.