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. He will be known as Pope Francis I.
The 76-year-old, who has been a cardinal since 2001, was introduced to the world – in Latin - from the balcony of St Peter’s Basilica in front of tens of thousands gathered in the square below.
Minutes earlier, white smoke rose above the Sistine Chapel and bells rang out across Rome, prompting cheers and wild applause.
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.
The Jesuit prizes simplicity and humility and was expected to encourage priests to do shoe-leather evangelization, according to his biographer.
Bergoglio has only one lung, the other having been removed due to infection when he was a teenager.
Smoke billowed from the chimney at 7:07 p.m. (2:07 p.m. ET) on the second day of behind-closed-doors voting and marked the beginning to a new era for a church combating scandal and internal strife.
The cardinals are thought to have taken five ballots to reach the two-third majority necessary for a decision.
Before being introduced from the balcony, the Argentine cardinal was taken from the Sistine Chapel into a side room called the “Room of Tears” to be dressed in the papal clothes.
His appearance was heralded by a Latin announcement beginning with the phrase "Habemus Papam!" meaning, "We have a pope!"
Egan said the new pope needed five qualities. He should be “a man of prayer, who loves leading public prayer and privately prays with joy and fulfillment;” “a man who repeats the gospel message in an uncomplicated manner;” and “a leader who will lead on the great questions of the day,” which he said were “justice, compassion and peace.”
He should also “know how to govern” and had to be “a person who can handle criticism with calm and with total trust in God,” Egan said.
The papal election follows the abdication of Pope Benedict XVI on Feb. 28.
Now known as Pope Emeritus, he was watching Wednesday's events from a temporary lakeside residence at Castel Gandolfo while his permanent living quarters inside Vatican City are refurbished.
The behind-the-scenes ballot process that has taken place in the Sistine Chapel should still remain a secret. Both the cardinals and staff working alongside them swore an oath of secrecy as the conclave got under way, with the threat of ex-communication for anyone breaking the church's ancient code.
Such is the importance of secrecy that Vatican officials have installed jamming devices to prevent the use of cellphones by cardinals or hidden microphones by anyone wanting to hear their deliberations.