Catholic Church Elects Argentina’s Jorge Mario Bergoglio As New Pope

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio has been elected as the new pope of the Roman Catholic Church and will lead under the name Pope Francis.

White smoke signaled the surprise selection Wednesday (March 13) an hour before Pope Francis, 76, appeared on the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica, according to Reuters.

“Pray for me,” the new pontiff, decked in the white robes of a pope for the first time, told the crowd. French cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran made the announcement of the new pope with the Latin words “Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum. Habemus Papam” (“I announce to you a great joy. We have a pope.”)

Francis becomes the 266th pontiff in the Church’s 2,000-year history and will replace Pope Benedict, who resigned last month.