Pope Francis of Argentina: A first for the Americas

Pope Francis blesses the crowd from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Wednesday, March 13, 2013. Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, who chose the name of Francis is the 266th pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)


by NICOLE WINFIELD / Associated Press


Posted on March 13, 2013 at 2:26 PM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 13 at 11:48 PM

VATICAN CITY (AP) -- 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.     

(Click here to Meet Pope Francis I)

After announcing `'Habemus Papum" - `'We have a pope!" - a cardinal standing on the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica on Wednesday revealed the identity of the new pontiff, using his Latin name. Bergoglio had reportedly finished second in the 2005 conclave that produced Benedict XVI - who last month became the first pope to resign in 600 years.                   

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The 76-year-old archbishop of Buenos Aires has spent nearly his entire career at home in Argentina, overseeing churches and shoe-leather priests.

(Who are the contenders? Click here for the list.)

Vatican Security

Throngs of the faithful are in St. Peter's Square, ready to cheer the new pope when he steps out onto the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica. The vast square in Rome is a sea of umbrellas, flags and chanting crowds. 

The Vatican's security force, known as the gendarmerie, is in charge of those inside the square, while Italian police handle crowd control just outside the Vatican's boundaries. Security officers from both forces include plainclothes agents dressed up as tourists, watching for any unusual movement. 

A tented field hospital went up near the Vatican before the conclave began. 

There have been a few "trial runs" of crowd control. Pope Benedict XVI's public audience drew so many people -- some 150,000 -- that there wasn't enough space for all in the cobblestone square.