A new pope has been elected. He will be the 266th pope in the history of the church.
White smoke was finally issued from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel on Wednesday afternoon, a sign that the cardinals involved in the Papal election had come to a collective decision. The Latin words “Habemus Papam” were also announced, meaning, “We have a new Pope.”.
The announcement came sooner than some expected after just two days of deliberations in Rome. The successor to Pope Benedict, who resigned last month, is still unknown. The three mostly hotly tipped successors were Angelo Scola of Italy, Brazilian Odilo Scherer and Marc Ouellet of Canada.
The papal conclave began on Tuesday when 115 cardinals from 50 countries began casting their votes. They stayed in a special conclave hotel and had little access to the outside world.
The cardinals had to vote four times daily until one candidate had a two-thirds majority. Usually, if a decision is not made after three days, the cardinals may pause for prayer and informal discussion for a maximum of one day.
Pope Benedict XVI chose to step down as he felt he was no longer physically strong enough to lead the Church. He was the first Pope in six centuries to have abdicated.