Argentinian archbishop named as Pope
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The cardinals' conclave of the Roman Catholic Church has chosen an Argentinian archbishop as the new Pope.
He is Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, who will be known as Pope Francis I.
He was chosen after four votes by the conclave of 115 cardinals.
Pope Francis appeared on the balcony of St Peter's Basilica just before 8.30am (NZ time) to cheers from tens of thousands of the faithful, after stopping to pray in the Pauline Chapel for a few minutes.
White smoke rising from the conclave at the Vatican signalled a decision had been reached on the new head of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.
His appearance came after French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, the protodeacon, announces "Habemus Papum" - "We have a pope" - and gave the name of the new pontiff in Latin.
Asking for prayers for himself and for retired Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Francis also delivered a laugh line.
"As you know, the duty of the conclave is to give Rome a bishop," he told the crowd. "It seems that my brother cardinals went almost to the end of the earth to find a pope."
He is first non-European pope in hundreds of years - as well as the first from the Americas - and also the first Jesuit.
The first Latin American Pope comes from a region with the largest concentration of Catholics in the world - a reflection that part of the church's destiny lies in lands outside Europe, for centuries its stronghold.