A crowd in St. Peter's Square awaits the new pope. (Source: Vatican TV/CNN)
Newly elected Pope Francis I, formerly Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, greets the crowd outside St. Peter's Basilica. (Source: Vatican TV/CNN)
White smoke from the Sistine Chapel signals a pope has been elected. (Source: Vatican TV/CNN)
The new pope will greet the masses in St. Peter's Square. (Source: Vatican TV/CNN)
The crowd began to cheer as plumes of white smoke rose from the Sistine Chapel chimney. (Source: Vatican TV/CNN)
ROME (RNN) – A leader of the Catholic Church has been chosen - Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio. He will take the name of Pope Francis.
"Let us begin this journey together; it is a friendship of love, trust and faith between us," Francis said, addressing hundreds of thousands in St. Peter's Square. "Let us pray for always for one another, for the whole world because - let us have a big brotherhood."
Bergoglio, 76, greeted the crowd outside the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica at 3:23 p.m. ET, 8:23 p.m. in Italy. He becomes the first non-European pope since the papal conclaves began in 1267.
Bergoglio is known among peers as being a straightforward church leader and tends to side with the church's more conservative side.
Pope Francis also asked the crowd to pray for "our emeritus bishop, Benedict XVI." Francis will meet with his predecessor on Thursday.
Bergoglio was known as a cardinal with a common touch, living a simple life and reportedly shunning a car service to take the bus to work, earning him respect among people and peers.
"Once you gain that position of bishop and especially cardinal, you're offered a life of comfort - Catholic celebrity type status. He literally walked away from it all. He's known to use public transportation, cook his own meals, very comfortable in his own skin," said Dr. Randall Wooard with Saint Leo University, a Catholic liberal arts college based in Florida.
"His writing and his witness really demonstrate a real heart for the poor, not just by his words and preaching, but by choosing a more difficult life than he was given."
He also was reportedly the runner-up to Pope Benedict XVI last conclave.
Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, he has served as the archbishop of his birthplace and is a Jesuit, who are known for advocating social justice issues. He was appointed as cardinal by Pope John Paul II in 2001.
The Catholic order known as the Society of Jesus was founded in 1540 by Ignatius Loyola. Their mission is to help those where the need is greatest, and is a missionary order.
Bergoglio obtained a licentiate in philosophy from the Colegio Máximo San José in San Miguel, and then taught literature and psychology at the Colegio de la Inmaculada in Santa Fe, and the Colegio del Salvador in Buenos Aires.
During his time in the church, Bergoglio asked clergy and laity to oppose both abortion and euthanasia.
Though he teaches the importance of respecting individuals who are gay, he strongly opposed legislation introduced in 2010 by the Argentine government to allow same-sex marriage.
Pope Francis is facing big issues, and Catholics are looking to him to guide the church through the controversies and scandal of recent years.
"He's got so many hurdles, I hope he doesn't do anything the way Benedict did. I hope he takes a fresh approach," said A.J. Brown, of Alexandria, VA, a self-described "conflicted Catholic."
Brown is concerned that the church is not in step with what's happening in the real world, but he's hopeful, too.
"He's more in touch with the poor and the issues that the poor are dealing with," Brown said. "We'll see what happens. The church kind of loses credibility with the world and followers like myself when you are so out of touch."
Brown also hopes that Pope Francis will deal with the sex abuse scandal in a more open manner, by not protecting the priests, but by handing over the offenders to authorities.
Although said to be in good health, Francis suffered from a respiratory infection as a teenager that required one of his lungs to be removed.
Bergoglio is the first pope to take the name of Francis, which refers to both and St. Francis Xavier and St. Francis of Assisi.
St. Francis Xavier was a co-founder of the Society of Jesus, the same order of priests Bergoglio belongs to. He was known among the church for his missionary work in Asia, including India, Japan and Indonesia.
Xaiver supposedly converted more people than any missionary since Paul the Apostle.
St. Francis of Assisi took a vow of poverty after hearing a sermon about Matthew 10:9 in which Christ tells his followers that the Kingdom of Heaven was upon them, and they should go forth without money.
He also was the patron saint of animals, the environment and is one of two patron saints of Italy.
The Franciscan Order within the Catholic Church was founded and named after St. Francis.
On the streets of Vatican City, tens of thousands awaited the decree from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica. The senior cardinal deacon uttered the Latin phrase, "Habemus Papem," or, "We have a pope."
White smoke poured from the Sistine Chapel chimney at 2:06 p.m. ET, 7:06 p.m. in Italy, and the bells have rung in St. Peter's Basilica. The new pontiff was elected on the cardinal's fifth attempt at a vote and the second day of the conclave; there had not been a fifth ballot pope in more than 100 years.
A cardinal needs 77 votes to become pope.
The election for Pope Benedict XVI lasted two days and required four ballots in April 2005. For John Paul II, voting lasted from Oct. 14 to 16 and required eight ballots.
The conclave to elect a new pope began March 12 so that a pontiff would be selected by Easter, which is March 31.
One hundred and fifteen cardinals deliberated in secret on who would become the spiritual leader of the Roman Catholic Church, which has 1.2 billion adherents worldwide.
Pope Benedict XVI became the first pope to retire in 598 years, announcing Feb. 11 he would step down "due to advanced age."
Benedict wrote that his strength had "deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me."
Benedict was 78 at the time he became pope, the oldest person elected to lead the Church.
His final day as pope was Feb. 28.
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Despite the pomp and ceremony of the cardinals entering conclave, black smoke poured from the Sistine Chapel chimney on the first day of voting, signifying the cardinals had not chosen a new pope.More >>
Despite the pomp and ceremony of the cardinals entering conclave, black smoke poured from the Sistine Chapel chimney on the first day of voting, signifying the cardinals had not chosen a new leader of the Catholic Church. More >>