VATICAN CITY — White smoke issued from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel at 7:08pm Rome time. The smoke indicates that the Catholic Church’s 115 cardinal electors have chosen a new Pope to succeed Benedict XVI, who resigned the papacy Feb. 28.
The new Pope’s election appears to have occurred on the fifth ballot. The cardinal electors have been secluded in conclave since the afternoon of March 12, voting for Benedict’s successor.
After observing the behind-the-scenes formalities that follow the election, the new Pope will be introduced to the world in about 45 minutes. Speaking from the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica, he will address the vast crowd that is now gathering in St. Peter’s Square to greet him.