A new Pope has been elected. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, now Benedict XVI, has been elected Pope by the 115 cardinals responsible for electing the new leader of the Roman Catholic Church.
White smoke poured from the chimney atop the Sistine Chapel in Rome, signaling that a new pope has been elected by the College of Cardinals.
The announcement that German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger had been named the next pope followed less than an hour later.
“My dearest brothers and sisters,” said Cardinal Jorge Medina Estevez from a balcony. “I announce to you a great joy. We have a pope!”
Ratzinger, 78, has been the Vatican’s chief overseer of doctrine since 1981.
At about 6 p.m. local time, their eyes glued to the chimney, the crowd lingering in St. Peter’s Square cheered, clapped, laughed and honked horns as the white smoke wafted out.
At first, no bells rang, as they were expected to when a pope had been decided upon, so there was some initial confusion as to whether the cardinals had actually settled on a choice.
But then the Sistine Chapel’s big, old bell began tolling, signaling that the Vatican had chosen its next leader. The crowd went wild, waving flags and shouting in glee.