Cardinal Bergoglio of Argentina newly named Pope Francis

First ever pontiff from the Americas

SAN DIEGO - 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.

MORE IMAGES: Celebrations in Vatican City

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.

Bergoglio, 76, has spent nearly his entire career at home in Argentina, overseeing churches and shoe-leather priests. The archbishop of Buenos Aires reportedly got the second-most votes after Joseph Ratzinger in the 2005 papal election, and he has long specialized in the kind of pastoral work that some say is an essential skill for the next pope.

In a lifetime of teaching and leading priests in Latin America, which has the largest share of the world's Catholics, Bergoglio has shown a keen political sensibility as well as the kind of self-effacing humility that fellow cardinals value highly. Bergoglio is known for modernizing an Argentine church that had been among the most conservative in Latin America.

Catholics, world leaders welcome church's new pope

World leaders are sending their congratulations and Catholics around the world are celebrating after the Vatican announced the election of Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio to the papacy -- making him the first pontiff from Americas.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said Wednesday was "a momentous day for the 1.2 billion Catholics around the world." European Union leaders Herman Van Rompuy and Jose Manuel Barroso wished the new Catholic leader "a long and blessed pontificate."

In Latin America, there were tears and cheers at the news that of the first pope from the hemisphere. Even in Communist Cuba, there was pride as church bells rang to celebrate the news.

On Twitter, the pope's mothballed account was revived and read: "HABEMUS PAPAM FRANCISCUM," a reference to the cardinal's new name: Pope Francis.

AP source: Biden to Rome for pope's installation

Vice President Joe Biden will lead the U.S. delegation to newly elected Pope Francis' installation in Rome.

That's according to a White House official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the trip hasn't been publicly announced.

An official date hasn't been announced, but the Vatican says it's a "good hypothesis" that the new pope will be installed next Tuesday.

Biden is an observant Catholic and the first member of that faith to be elected vice president.

Cardinals in Rome elected 76-year-old Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina earlier Wednesday. Bergoglio, who chose the papal name Francis, becomes first pontiff from the Americas and the first from outside Europe in more than a millennium. 

The Installation Mass

The pope's installation mass -- the first in his new role -- will likely be a morning-long affair of pomp and prayer. VIPs will line the pews, with as many as some 200 foreign delegations expected.

The ceremony is traditionally held on a Sunday, when the city's streets can be closed to traffic near the Vatican.

Francis Of Assisi

Francis, the name the new pope has chosen, is a much-beloved Italian saint who is identified with peace, poverty and a simple lifestyle.

Jorge Bergoglio is the first pontiff from Latin America and the first pontiff to adopt the name of Francis -- the name of the rich young man from Assisi who renounced wealth and founded the Franciscan order of friars in 1290. The choice could foretell the pope's priorities in striving to bring a sense of serenity to the troubled church.

Choosing a name shared by one of Italy's patron saints also ties the new pope to Italy, the homeland of all popes of the last few centuries until 1978.

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