Pope Benedict XVI emerged onto the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica waving and smiling at a wildly cheering crowd of tens of thousands packed in St. Peter’s Square.
The square filled up quickly after news that a new Pope had been elected to succeed Pope John Paul II. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected today as the 265th Pope and successor of Peter. He took the name Benedict XVI.
The newly elected pontiff addressed the crowd in Italian: “My dear brothers and sisters, after the great Pope John Paul II, the cardinals have elected me, a simple and humble worker in the vineyard of the Lord.
“I am consoled in knowing that the Lord knows how to work with insufficient means, and I entrust myself to your prayers,” Pope Benedict said after Chilean Cardinal Jorge Arturo Medina Estivez introduced him with the traditional Latin phrase, “Habemus Papam” (We have a Pope).
“In the joy of the Risen Lord and with his constant help, we will work, and with Mary, his mother, who is by our side,” the 78-year-old pontiff continued as the crowd responded, chanting “Benedict! Benedict!”
Then, under sudden rain, the Pope gave his first Urbi et Orbi benediction in Latin.
The German-born pontiff was elected April 19 in the fourth round of votes on the second day of the conclave. White smoke drifted up from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel at 5:56 p.m. (Rome time), indicating that a new Pope had been elected. The bells of St. Peter’s rang out with the news soon after.
Pope Benedict XVI will be installed at the Holy See this Sunday.