VATICAN CITY (AP) ?? Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio elected pope ?? first pontiff from Americas.
The new pope, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who is 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.
This has been a story update. Read the earlier story below. Check back for further updates.
NICOLE WINFIELD, Associated Press
VATICAN CITY (AP) ?? The Catholic church has chosen a new pope.
White smoke is billowing from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel, meaning 115 cardinals in a papal conclave have elected a new leader for the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.
The new pope is expected to appear on the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica within an hour, after a church official announces "Habemus Papum" ?? "We have a pope" ?? and gives the name of the new pontiff in Latin.
The conclave was called after Pope Benedict XVI resigned last month, throwing the church into turmoil and exposing deep divisions among cardinals tasked with finding a manager to clean up a corrupt Vatican bureaucracy as well as a pastor who can revive Catholicism in a time of growing secularism.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.