THE white smoke that rose up a pipe in the roof of the Sistine Chapel to mark the election of Pope Francis is one of the most famous traditions of the papal succession.
CARDINAL Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina has been elected the new leader of the Catholic Church, becoming the first non-European pontiff for 1292 years.
A new Pope has been elected: Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, from Argentina, who becomes the first Jesuit to lead the world's Catholics.
Catholic cardinals will begin their conclave today to elect the next pope, with no clear front-runner for the job.
Pope Benedict XVI has spoken from his window at the Vatican for the last time, telling the faithful packed into St Peter's Square the first papal abdication in centuries was God's will and he was not abandoning the Church.