New Pope Chosen; First from the Americas

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By Alabama News Network

Argentine Jorge Bergoglio has been elected pope, the first ever from the Americas and the first from outside Europe in more than a millennium. He chose the name Pope Francis.

Tens of thousands of people have been celebrating in St. Peter's Square, after the news that cardinals meeting in the Sistine Chapel have chosen a new pope.

The crowd gathered in a cold rain to watch the smokestack atop the chapel. And people jumped for joy when white smoke poured out, a signal that the cardinals had elected a successor to Pope Benedict.

Many chanted "Habemus Papam" or "We have a pope," as the bells of St. Peter's Basilica and churches across Rome tolled.

The new pope was elected on the fifth ballot -- chosen in one of the fastest conclaves in years. And a quick decision hadn't been expected, since the church had been in turmoil after Pope Benedict's surprise resignation.

The election also came amid revelations of mismanagement, infighting and corruption in the Holy See bureaucracy.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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