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We Have A New Pope

Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio has been elected the Catholic Church's Pope, taking the name Francis. Appearing on a balcony over St Peter's Square in Rome, he asked the faithful to pray for him, with cheers erupting as he gave a blessing. The 76-year-old from Buenos Aires is the first Latin American and the first Jesuit to be pontiff.

The new Pope takes the helm at a difficult time for the Catholic Church, facing an array of challenges which include the role of women, interfaith tensions and dwindling congregations in some parts of the world.

There was elation on a rain-strewn St Peter's Square as the white smoke billowed from the rusty chimney. Brollies bounced and flags swayed as the basilica bells rang out. The crowd swelled as Rome converged on the square, priests and pilgrims running to catch a glimpse of their new leader. "Viva il papa!" they chanted, as they waited to learn his name. Once the crowd had been told, the chants quickly turned to: "Fran-ces-co! Fran-ces-co!" .And then, to trumpet fanfare, the balcony curtains parted and the new Pope appeared above them, to bless them - but only after he had asked them to pray with him, and for him. The people were touched, and roared their approval. About an hour later, the name of the new Pope was read out.

"Habemus Papam Franciscum," was the first tweet by the papal account @pontifex since Benedict stood down last month.

Few Fact About Pope Francis

• Born Jorge Mario Bergoglio on 17 December 1936 (age 76) in Buenos Aires, of Italian descent
• Ordained as a Jesuit in 1969
• Studied in Argentina and Germany
• Became Cardinal of Buenos Aires in 1998
• Seen as orthodox on sexual matters but strong on social justice

Correspondents and commentators said Cardinal Bergoglio was a surprise choice and not among a small group of frontrunners before the election.Many observers were also expecting a younger pope to be elected. He is regarded as a doctrinal conservative but seen as a potential force for reform of the Vatican bureaucracy, which may have won the support of reforming cardinals. However, he is known more than anything for his humility. He has spent almost his entire career in Argentina and often travels to work by bus.
The name the new Pope has taken is reminiscent of St Francis of Assisi, the 13th Century Italian reformer and patron saint of animals, who lived in poverty.The saint was said to have been summoned by God to repair a Church in ruins. Click on the link below to watch some highlights