Pope Francis
Newly elected Pope Francis, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina appears on the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica (Reuters)

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina has been elected Pope of the Catholic Church. Bergoglio, previously the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, has chosen the name Francis I.

White smoke rose from the Sistine Chapel chimney and the bells of St Peter's Basilica rang on the second day of the cardinal's conclave called to find a successor to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. Bergoglio was elected on the fifth ballot.

Cardinal Protodeacon Jean-Louis Tauran took the central balcony of St Peter's to pronounce the famous formula "Habemus Papam (We have a pope)" followed by the name of the new pontiff.

Then Bergoglio emerged from behind the red curtains and addressed the thousands of worshippers who had gathered in St Peter's Square in the Vatican.

"Brother and sisters, good evening," said Francis I. "It seems the conclave went to the other side of the world to find a new pope."

He asked the faithful to pray for his predecessor, who was reportedly watching the conclave on TV.

Francis I then intoned the Lord's Prayer and took his leave from the cheering crowd below a few minutes later.

"Pray for me, I'll see you soon. Good night and rest well," Francis I said.

Born on 17 December, 1936, Bergoglio is the son of an Italian emigre railway worker and his wife.

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Newly elected Pope Francis I, the former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina, appears on the balcony of St Peter's BasilicaReuters
Newly elected Pope Francis I, the former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina, appears on the balcony of St Peter's BasilicaReuters
Pope Benedict XVI with the then-Archbishop of Buenos Aires Bergoglio in 2007Reuters
The faithful gathered in St Peter's Square cheer as white smoke rises from the Vatican chimney to announce that a new pope has been electedReuters
Pope Francis I on the balcony of St Peter's BasilicaReuters
Pope Francis I, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, waves to adoring Catholics after his election by the conclave of cardinalsReuters
A young Catholic is overcome with emotion during the long wait for a decisionReuters
Buenos Aires Cardinal Bergoglio is the 266th Pope of the Catholic ChurchReuters
White smoke rises from the chimney above the Sistine ChapelReuters