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New Pope for world's 1.2 billion Catholics elected
7:15pm Wednesday 13th March 2013 in News
Pope Francis flanked by Monsignor Guido Marini, master of liturgical ceremonies, waves to the crowd from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican,
Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was tonight elected at the Vatican as the new Pope.
Amid jubilant scenes,he appeared on the balcony of St Peter's Basilica at 7.22pm UK time, after 115 cardinals elected him as the new leader for the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.
Pope Benedict XVI's resignation threw the church into turmoil and exposed deep divisions among cardinals tasked with finding a manager to clean up a Vatican bureaucracy embroiled in recent scandals.
The new pope, the 266th, will be tasked with reviving Catholicism in a time of growing secularism.
Elected on the fifth ballot, he was chosen in one of the fastest conclaves in years.
The quick election was a surprise given there was no clear front-runner going into the vote and that the church had been in turmoil following the upheaval unleashed by Pope Benedict XVI's surprise resignation.
Argentinian Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, had to receive 77 votes, or two-thirds of the 115, to be named pope.
He will be known as Pope Francis, and he thanked the crowd of 70,000 for their warm reception and led them in prayer to thank his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI.
He added: “The world should set off on a path of love and fraternity.
“I would like to thank you for your welcome, the community of Rome, its brotherhood, I thank you.
“Above all, I would like to pray for Pope Benedict XVI.”
Minutes later, a message was sent from the official papal Twitter account, which had been re-activated, which read: “HABEMUS PAPAM FRANCISCUM” - which roughly translates as “We have Pope Francis.”
He is the first Pope to be chosen outside of Europe for more than a Millennium.
The news was celebrated by Hampshire’s senior Catholic churchman, Bishop Philip Egan, and welcomed the new Holy Father on behalf of the of the Diocese of Portsmouth.
He said: “I am absolutely delighted to welcome our new Holy Father, Pope Francis 1.
“We are profoundly grateful to God for the gift of this great and holy man to the Church to lead us as 265th Successor of St. Peter.
“We pray for him and express to him our deep loyalty and fidelity.
“May the Holy Spirit inspire him with all the spiritual gifts needed for the work of new evangelisation, and grant him the personal health and strength for the challenges ahead.
“God bless our Pope.”