Argentine cardinal elected as new pope, takes name Francis
[Updated at 4:31 p.m. ET]
Latin Americans in St. Peter's Square are thrilled.
"As a youth, and as a Catholic student, and as a Mexican, I am absolutely overwhelmed with emotion (at) the fact that we have a new pope that will represent that part of the (world)," a woman from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, told CNN. "That is something very exciting. I feel that Mexico has been a country that has suffered a lot, and so has Latin America, but it is a people that has always put trust in God, so it is absolutely wonderful to represent our part of the world this time around."
Beside her, a woman from Mexico City said her heart jumped when she heard the announcement that a pope had been picked.
"I'm so excited," she said. "It's a reason of being proud tonight, because Latin America is a very important Catholic area and now it's going to be totally represented here, so I'm so proud and I'm so happy today. ... It's going to help a lot, a Latin American pope, it's going to help. It's going to rebuild many things, and it's a new start."
[Updated at 4:22 p.m. ET]
Let's take a look at some reaction to Francis' election. Here's what Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York -- by some accounts a pre-conclave contender for the papacy -- had to say, shortly after he participated in the conclave:
"Pope Francis I stands as the figure of unity for all Catholics wherever they reside," Dolan said in a statement released by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. "Intense prayer from all around the world surrounded the election of Pope Francis I. The bishops of the United States thank God for the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the inspired choice of the College of Cardinals."
And the Church of England, the country's official church denomination, offered a prayer Wednesday for the newly elected pope.
"Guide him by by your spirit, give him grace to lead people in prayer and zeal, and to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, your son our Lord," the prayer read.
[Updated at 4:08 p.m. ET]
CNN Vatican expert John Allen has reported previously, for the National Catholic Reporter, that the new pope may have been the runner-up in the 2005 election that saw Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger become Benedict XVI. Allen noted that there's no official account of that election - it is officially secret, after all - but various reports had Bergoglio coming in second in 2005.
[Updated at 3:51 p.m. ET]
Choosing the name Francis is powerful and ground-breaking, CNN Vatican expert John Allen says.
As noted earlier, this is the first Pope Francis. Also, the name parallels one of the most venerated figures in the Roman Catholic Church, St. Francis of Assisi.
Allen described the name of Pope Francis as "the most stunning" choice and "precedent shattering."
"There are cornerstone figures in Catholicism" such as St. Francis, Allen said. Figures of such stature as St. Francis seem "irrepeatable -- that there can be only one Francis," Allen added.
[Updated at 3:48 p.m. ET]
The pope's Twitter account is active once again.
Moments after the new Pope Francis addressed the Vatican City crowd, a message on the pope's Twitter account -- which had been dormant since Benedict XVI stepped down -- said, "Habemus Papam Franciscum."
That translates, from Latin, as, "We have Pope Francis."
[Updated at 3:42 p.m. ET]
After blessing the crowd, Pope Francis re-entered the basilica.
[Updated at 3:33 p.m. ET]
The blessing is over, and the crowd roars.
Here's more about Pope Francis, the former Cardinal Bergoglio of Argentina: He is 76, and is considered a straight-shooter who calls things as he sees them, and a follower of the church's most conservative wing. He is a former archbishop of Buenos Aires.
He has clashed with the government of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner over his opposition to gay marriage and free distribution of contraceptives.
Besides being the first non-European pope in the modern era, the first South American pope and the third straight non-Italian pope, he also is the first Pope Francis.
[Updated at 3:30 p.m. ET]
Pope Francis has offered his blessing "to you and to the whole world." This is known as the "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and the world) blessing.
[Updated at 3:29 p.m. ET]
Pope Francis says he will shortly offer his blessing, but now he's asking the crowd to have a moment of silence to pray for him.
[Updated at 3:27 p.m. ET]
Pope Francis says from the balcony (according to an English translation):
"As you know, the duty of the conclave was to appoint a bishop of Rome. It seems to me that my brother cardinals have chosen one who is from far away, but here I am.
"I would like to thank you for your embrace, also to ... the bishops, thank you very much.
"First and foremost, I would like to pray for our emeritus pope, Benedict XVI. Let us pray all of us together ... so that he's blessed by the lord and guarded."
Pope Francis then said the Lord's Prayer.
[Updated at 3:23 p.m. ET]
Bergoglio, the new pope, has chosen the name Francis, according to Vatican Radio. He's now appearing on the balcony.
[Updated at 3:20 p.m. ET]
Bergoglio is the first pope from outside of Europe in the modern era, the first South American pope, and the third straight non-Italian pope.
(Correction notice: This post initially said that Bergoglio is the first non-European pope. We've corrected that to say he's the first non-European pope in the modern era.)
[Updated at 3:15 p.m. ET]
And the new pope is: Argentina's Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio.
[Updated at 3:12 p.m. ET]
The protodeacon is on the balcony, making the announcement.
[Updated at 3:08 p.m. ET]
It is taking longer for the new pope to appear after the white smoke this year than it did for Benedict XVI to appear after his election in 2005. But, an extra step has been added this time - the new pope has been allowed to pray alone in the Pauline Chapel before he appears on the balcony.
That could account for at least some of the difference.
[Updated at 3:03 p.m. ET]
It will be interesting to learn not only who the new pope is, but also what name he has chosen for himself. Popes often take a regnal name (like Benedict) that a previous pope used, and it generally is meant to point to a tone that the new pontiff wants to set, CNN senior Vatican analyst John Allen says.
For example, Pius XII, who served from 1939 to 1958, was very conservative, eminent Italian church historian Alberto Melloni told CNN. So, "if the new pope was to call himself Pius XIII, it would be a very ideological choice," he said.
Read more about what a pope's chosen name indicates, from CNN's Laura Smith-Spark.
[Updated at 2:48 p.m. ET]
Here's what we're going to hear from the cardinal who will introduce the new pope:
"Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum: Habemus Papam! Eminentissimum ac Reverendissimum Dominum, Dominum (FIRST NAME OF NEW POPE) Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae Cardinalem (LAST NAME OF NEW POPE) qui sibi nomen imposuit (POPE'S NEW NAME)."
"I announce to you a great joy: We have a pope! The eminent and most reverend lord, Lord (FIRST NAME OF NEW POPE), Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church (LAST NAME OF NEW POPE), who has taken the name (POPE'S NEW NAME)."
[Updated at 2:41 p.m. ET]
CNN senior Vatican analyst John Allen, on the moment that we will see the pope on the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica: "First impressions last. ... It will be very interesting to see how the new pope comports himself here tonight and makes his introduction."
[Updated at 2:38 p.m. ET]
It shouldn't be long before we find out who the new pope is. When Benedict XVI was elected in 2005, about 45 minutes passed between the appearance of the white smoke and the appearance of the cardinal who introduced the new pope.
Today, the smoke appeared just after 2 p.m. ET (7 p.m. in the Vatican).
[Updated at 2:30 p.m. ET]
The crowd at St. Peter's Square continues to swell. "People are literally running up the block (so they can see the pope) when he comes out on the balcony for the first time," CNN's Anderson Cooper reports from the Vatican.
[Updated at 2:25 p.m. ET]
From CNN's Jim Bittermann at the Vatican: The crowd waiting for the new pope represents all sorts of nationalities -- "everybody from around the world."
"You see a lot of religious folks are here, different orders of nuns and priests, packing in all afternoon," as well as tourists, he said. "There are more people just as I'm speaking. All of the sudden there's been a surge of people coming in."
[Updated at 2:23 p.m. ET]
Like the one in which Benedict XVI was chosen in 2005, this election didn't take long. The white smoke comes on just the conclave's second day.
We have a few steps to take before we learn who the new pope is. Here's what we've been told will happen next:
-- The new pope will leave the Sistine Chapel to put on his papal robes, then re-enter the chapel for prayer with the cardinals.
-- The cardinals will then line up to congratulate the new pope and promise their obedience to him.
-- The pope will then go back to Pauline Chapel to pray for a few moments.
-- Only then will the pope prepare to reveal himself to the public. At the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica, proto-deacon Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran (assuming Tauran himself wasn't elected) will appear and announce the new pope's old name, and the name he will be known as from now on.
-- The pope will then appear on the balcony.
[Posted at 2:10 p.m. ET]
White smoke above the Sistine Chapel has made it official: The Roman Catholic Church has a new pope.
Bells are ringing at the Vatican, and thousands of people gathered in the square are cheering.
We'll find out in the minutes to come who the new pope is. Stay with us as we find out.
[Updated at 2:10 p.m. ET]
Uniformed police officers have now taken over the task of guarding the pope emeritus. When his papacy ended 10 minutes ago, Swiss Guards left their posts, closed the doors of Castel Gandolfo, and hung up their halberds.
[Updated at 2 p.m. ET]
The papacy of Benedict XVI is now officially over, ending a pontificate in retirement rather than death for the first time in nearly 600 years.
[Updated at 1:05 p.m. ET]
We now have an official English translation of what Benedict said in his last public appearance as pope, from the balcony of the papal retreat in Castel Gandolfo:
"I am happy to be with you, surrounded by the beauty of Creation and your well wishes, which do me such good. Thank you for your friendship and your affection.
"You know that this day is different for me than the preceding ones. I am no longer the Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church, or I will be until 8 this evening and then no longer. I am simply a pilgrim beginning the last leg of his pilgrimage on this earth. But I would still [applause] ... thank you ... I would still -- with my heart, with my love, with my prayers, with my reflection, and with all my inner strength -- like to work for the common good and the good of the church and of humanity. I feel very supported by your kindness. Let us go forward with the Lord for the good of the church and the world. Thank you. I now wholeheartedly impart my blessing.
"Blessed be God Almighty, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Good night! Thank you all!"
We should note that although Benedict said he was no longer pope, he officially will be the pontiff until 2 p.m ET (8 p.m. in Rome).
[Updated at 11:52 a.m. ET]
And that, if things go according to plan, will have been the last we see of Benedict as leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.
His papacy is expected to end at 2 p.m ET (8 p.m. in Rome).
Benedict, who will be known as pope emeritus, is expected to stay at the Castel Gandolfo papal retreat until the Catholic Church's cardinals elect his successor.
After the successor is chosen, Benedict is expected to live in a former gardener's house at the Vatican to lead a life of prayer.
The cardinals' conclave is expected to begin sometime in March.
[Updated at 11:43 a.m. ET]
"Dear friends," the pope tells the crowd, according to an English translation, "I am happy to enjoy your sympathy. I give thanks for your friendship and for your affection.
"You know that this is a different day for me than earlier days. I am no longer the pope, but I'm still in the church. I'm just a pilgrim who is starting the last part of his pilgrimage on this Earth.
"And with all my heart and prayer and love, and with my thoughts and strength, I would like to work for the common good ... and feel very much supported (by you). ... Thank you all very much.
"So accept my blessing. May God bless you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
"Thank you all. Good night. Thank you all."
With that, as bells ring and the crowd cheers, he turns around and re-enters the retreat.
[Updated at 11:38 a.m. ET]
Benedict has appeared on the balcony. This is expected to be his last public appearance as pope.
Massive amounts of flag-waving from the crowd now. The pope stretches out his hands.
[Updated at 11:34 a.m. ET]
To give you an idea of how big this crowd is relative to the space available to it: In a town of about 9,000 residents, about 10,000 people are now in or near the village square.
[Updated at 11:33 a.m. ET]
Benedict is out of the car, and after shaking a hand or two, is walking into the papal retreat in the town of Castel Gandolfo.
The thousands of people waiting in the village square -- many waving Vatican flags -- are waiting for him to appear on the residence's balcony.
[Updated at 11:30 a.m. ET]
A car is now taking Benedict to the papal retreat at the Italian town of Castel Gandolfo.
He'll get a warm greeting in the town after a roughly 2-kilometer drive. Thousands of people have been standing in the village square for hours, ready to greet him and perhaps hear him say something from the balcony of the papal retreat.
That address from the balcony could in the next 15 minutes or so.
[Updated at 11:27 a.m. ET]
Benedict is off the helicopter. Standing just outside the helicopter, he's greeting a delegation at the heliport in the Castel Gandolfo area.
[Updated at 11:24 a.m. ET]
The helicopter, having circled the Vatican as bells rang for the pope in the city-state, has landed in the Castel Gandolfo area. Benedict is due to be greeted by Castel Gandolfo's mayor before a vehicle takes him to the papal retreat, where he'll greet the 10,000 people waiting for him.
[Updated at 11:15 a.m. ET]
Benedict, minutes ago, sent what may be his final Twitter post as pope:
"Thank you for your love and support. May you always experience the joy that comes from putting Christ at the centre of your lives," he tweeted.
He collected about 2 million Twitter followers since his accounts opened late last year. More than 1.5 million of those follow the English language account.
[Updated at 11:08 a.m. ET]
Bells ring in Vatican City as the helicopter carrying Benedict takes off.
About 10,000 people await him in the town of Castel Gandolfo, where Benedict should land in 10-15 minutes from now.
[Updated at 11:04 a.m. ET]
And now, Benedict's last moments as pope in Vatican City. He's aboard the helicopter, which will take off soon.
[Updated at 11 a.m. ET]
About 15 minutes behind schedule, a motorcade has now taken Benedict away from the area of his papal apartments.
[Updated at 10:58 a.m. ET]
More Vatican staff greet the pope in the San Damaso courtyard, and the applause from the public continues. The ovation has been going on for about two minutes.
The pope has now entered a black car that will take him to a helicopter, which will send him to Castel Gandolfo 15 miles away.
[Updated at 10:56 a.m. ET]
Benedict's journey out of the Vatican has begun. He just finished shaking hands with and saying goodbye to some staff members, and now he's walking outside. He'll be taken to a helicopter.
Crowds applaud as goes outside.
[Updated at 10:42 a.m. ET]
Here's the rough timeline that we have of the events that remain in Benedict's last hours as pope:
-- 10:45 a.m. ET: Pope departs courtyard of San Damaso at the Vatican, and is driven to a heliport.
-- 11 a.m. ET: Helicopter departs for Castel Gandolfo, about 15 miles southeast of the Vatican. He'll remain at a summer papal residence at Castel Gandolfo until his successor is chosen.
-- 11:15 a.m.: Helicopter is due to arrive at Castel Gandolfo.
-- 11:30 a.m.: Benedict greets the crowd and is expected to make a brief salute from a balcony at the Castel Gandolfo residence.
-- 2 p.m.: Benedict ceases to be pope, and the Swiss Guard departs from him. He will continue to be guarded by security personnel, but not by the Swiss Guard.
[Updated at 10:22 a.m. ET]
We're about 20 minutes from the moment Benedict will start leaving the Vatican for the papal resort in the Italian town of Castel Gandolfo.
What kind of influence will Benedict have over the choice of his successor? Not direct influence, CNN contributor the Rev. Edward Beck says, noting that Benedict will be in seclusion and the cardinals' conclave is to be conducted in secret.
But perhaps he will have had some indirect influence just because he appointed 67 of the roughly 115 cardinals who will be making the selection.
"Many of them would be in the same stream of consciousness, the name theology, the same thought pattern as Benedict, at least theologically perhaps," Beck said of the 67 cardinals that Benedict appointed during his eight years as pope.
Beck also wondered whether, because Benedict is still alive -- he'll be the first living ex-pope in nearly 600 years -- the cardinal electors' choices will be influenced by a desire to respect Benedict. That is to say, whether they'll select someone aligned with Benedict theologically because they don't want to disrespect the living ex-pontiff.
"It's a question I would have, because we haven't had this obviously in 600 years," Beck said.
[Updated at 9:49 a.m. ET]
There's a "party atmosphere" at Italy's Castel Gandolfo, the seaside papal resort town where, starting tonight, Benedict will be in seclusion until his successor is chosen, CNN's Becky Anderson reports.
About 10,000 people have gathered in the village square, awaiting his arrival set for this evening, according to Journalist Barbie Nadeau.
A banner with solver balloons reads, "Thank you Benedict -- we are with you."
Area residents, many of whom have worked at the papal retreat in the town, have gathered to see what is expected to be Benedict's last public appearance as pope. Benedict is expected to appear on a balcony of the papal retreat Thursday evening, shortly before the moment he resigns. In anticipation of his appearance, a banner has just been unfurled below the balcony.
We're about an hour away from the moment that Benedict will leave the Vatican and eventually embark on a helicopter trip to Castel Gandolfo, about 15 miles southeast of the Vatican.
[Updated at 8:32 a.m. ET]
We've just gotten a clarification on the number of cardinals eligible to vote for the next pontiff: 115, says Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi.
Two of them might be too sick to attend the conclave, though some arrangements may be made to enable them to vote, Lombardi said.
He did not name the two cardinals. He also didn't say for sure that they wouldn't attend the conclave, and he didn't describe how they might be allowed to vote if they don't attend.
Lombardi's comments came during a Vatican press briefing about Benedict's last day as pope and the coming election of a new pontiff has ended. That briefing has just ended.
[Updated at 8:22 a.m. ET]
Regarding the Fisherman's Ring, a symbol of office that is due to be destroyed after Benedict resigns tonight, a Vatican spokesman says Benedict has the right to wear it until 8 p.m. Rome time.
Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi says he does not know whether the pope will be wearing it on his helicopter ride to Castel Gandolfo -- the retreat where Benedict will be staying until a successor is chosen -- or whether he'll leave it at Vatican's papal apartments.
[Updated at 8:15 a.m. ET]
A media briefing at the Vatican continues, and a Vatican spokesman has recently finished talking about when Benedict will learn the identity of his successor. The answer: The same time the rest of the world finds out.
Benedict will not get any advance notice of who his successor will be when he is elected during a conclave that's due to begin in March, Vatican spokesman the Rev. Thomas Rosica says.
Starting tonight, Benedict is expected stay at a seaside papal retreat, Castel Gandolfo, until a successor is named. Then, with a title of pope emeritus, he will retire to a former gardener's house at the Vatican to lead a life of prayer, likely removed entirely from public life.
Read this article for more information on what Benedict's retirement is expected to be like.
[Updated at 8:04 a.m. ET]
Ah, conclave secrecy. What kind of precautions will the Vatican take to shield cardinal electors from the temptation of leaking information to the public when they gather to elect the next pope in March? That's one of the topics that Vatican spokesmen are addressing now in a news conference on Benedict's last day as pope.
As we noted earlier in this post, cardinal electors will be forbidden to communicate with the outside world during the conclave. A few minutes ago, Vatican spokesmen declined to say whether BlackBerrys, iPhones and laptops would be taken away from cardinals when they are in the conclave.
There is no internet access inside Santa Marta, where the cardinals will stay during the conclave, the Rev. Federico Lombardi said.
[Updated at 7:50 a.m. ET]
Speaking of Twitter, the pope -- who has collected more than 2 million Twitter followers on various language feeds since joining the social media service late last year -- will send his final tweet this afternoon Rome time, Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi told reporters minutes ago.
Then, the account @Pontifex will go dormant until the next pope decides whether he wants to use it, Lombardi said.
[Updated at 7:36 a.m. ET]
The days ahead will be busy -- but publicly quiet -- for the cardinals who have to elect a new pope. A tweet by of them illustrates this.
Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi of Italy, who commentators have speculated might be a candidate for the papacy, has signaled to his Twitter followers that he'll be leaving them for a few days.
Cardinals are forbidden to communicate with the outside world -- now including by Twitter -- during the conclave to elect a new pope.
[Updated at 7:23 a.m. ET]
More than 140 cardinals were at this morning's meeting with the pope, Vatican spokesman the Rev. Thomas Roscia says at a press briefing.
That includes both cardinals who will be eligible to choose the next pope, and those who are not. To be eligible to vote in the conclave that is expected to begin in March, a cardinal must be under the age of 80.
Not all of the electors, however, were at today's meeting. Some cardinals from around the world have still to arrive at the Vatican for the coming conclave.
At least 115 cardinals are eligible. Benedict appointed 67 of them.
[Updated at 7:10 a.m. ET]
When the pope met with the cardinals this morning, many of them will be the ones who will chose his successor during a conclave that is expected to start at the Vatican sometime in March. (Some of the cardinals, on the other hand, are too old too be eligible to vote.)
Cardinal Roger Mahony, the retired archbsihop of Los Angeles, was at the meeting. When he greeted the pope, he asked Benedict to pray for the people of Los Angeles, according to a tweet from Mahony.
"He grasped my hand and said "Yes"!!" Mahony tweeted.
[Updated at 6:57 a.m. ET]
Although this is his last day, the pope is still at work.
This includes receiving resignations and nominating bishops. Today he accepted the resignation of Mons. José Ángel Rova as bishop of Villa Maria, Argentina, and nominated Samuel Jofré to replace him.
He also nominated Mons. Joseph Dinh Duc Dao to be auxiliary bishop of Xuân Lôc, Vietnam - apparently his final official act as pope.
[Posted at 5:25 a.m. ET]
On the final day of his papacy, Pope Benedict XVI met with cardinals at the Vatican on Thursday, saying "I will continue to serve you in prayer."
After the pontiff completed his remarks, the cardinals greeted him individually, shaking hands and sharing a few words with the retiring head of the Catholic Church.
Benedict announced on February 11 that he would step down, becoming the first pontiff to leave the job alive in 598 years.
Copyright 2013 by CNN NewSource. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.