The pope says it wasn't evidence that he was getting mixed up in American politics.
Watch the live video feed showing the celebration over white smoke at the Sistine Chapel as cardinals chose a new pope.
Cardinals elected a new pope to lead the world's 1.2 billion Catholics on Wednesday, overcoming deep divisions to select the 266th pope in a remarkably fast conclave.
Tens of thousands of people who braved cold rain to watch the smokestack atop the Sistine Chapel jumped in joy when white smoke poured out, many shouting "Habemus Papam!" or "We have a pope!" -- as the bells of St. Peter's Basilica and churches across Rome tolled, signaling a pontiff had been chosen.
The pope, whose identity isn't yet known, is due to emerge from the loggia overlooking St. Peter's Square to deliver his first words as the Bishop of Rome.
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Elected on the fifth ballot, he was chosen in one of the fastest conclaves in years, remarkable given there was no clear front-runner going into the vote and that the church had been in turmoil following the upheaval unleashed by Pope Benedict XVI's surprise resignation.
Pope Francis denounced all religiously inspired violence during a visit to Rome's main synagogue Sunday.
The Vatican says it has arrested a monsignor and a woman in the latest probe of leaks of confidential documents at the Holy See.
The Nobel Peace Prize has gone to many deserving winners, but there have been some major snubs.