Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 6:01 pm
Credit Juan Mabromata / AFP/Getty Images
Pope Francis goes into history as the first pontiff from the New World.
For Latin America in particular, this is a momentous occasion: It is home to 483 million Catholics, or a little more than 40 percent of the global population.
Pope Francis was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, of Italian parents. At one point, he was the archbishop of the Buenos Aires diocese, which The Wall Street Journal reports, has "the largest concentration of Catholics in the world."
As news spread that the chimney atop the Sistine Chapel was billowing white smoke to signal the election of Pope Francis, anticipation built for the new pontiff's first appearance on the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica.
The new pope, 76-year-old Jorge Bergoglio, the archbishop of Buenos Aires, is the first pontiff from Latin America and the first Jesuit, but he appears to hold views very much in line with his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI.
Bergoglio has chosen the papal name Francis, becoming the 266th to hold the title of spiritual leader of the Catholic Church.