Courtesy CNN / Juan Marbromata / AFP / Getty Images
(NBC News) -- Cardinal Bergoglio was named leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics on Wednesday.
Minutes earlier, white smoke rose above the Sistine Chapel and bells rang out across Rome, prompting cheers and wild applause from the crowd of tens of thousands gathered in St Peter's Square in front of the Vatican.
He was introduced to the world – in Latin - from the balcony of St Peter's Basilica.
Smoke billowed from the chimney at 7:07 p.m. (2:07 p.m. ET) on the second day of behind-closed-doors voting and marked the beginning to a new era for a church combating scandal and internal strife.
The cardinals are thought to have taken five ballots to reach the two-third majority necessary for a decision.
Before being introduced from the balcony, he was taken from the Sistine Chapel into a side room called the "Room of Tears" to be dressed in the papal clothes.
His appearance will be heralded by a Latin announcement begins with the phrase "Habemus Papam!" meaning, "We have a pope!"
Edward Egan, Archbishop Emeritus of New York, said he was confident that the new pope, whoever he might be, would "give us the kind of guidance and support that we are looking for."
Egan said the new pope needed five qualities. He should be "a man of prayer, who loves leading public prayer and privately prays with joy and fulfillment;" "a man who repeats the gospel message in an uncomplicated manner;" and "a leader who will lead on the great questions of the day," which he said were "justice, compassion and peace."
He should also "know how to govern" and had to be "a person who can handle criticism with calm and with total trust in God," Egan said.
Now known as Pope Emeritus, he was watching Wednesday's events from a temporary lakeside residence at Castel Gandolfo while his permanent living quarters inside Vatican City are refurbished.
The behind-the-scenes ballot process that has taken place in the Sistine Chapel should still remain a secret. Both the cardinals and staff working alongside them swore an oath of secrecy as the conclave got under way, with the threat of ex-communication for anyone breaking the church's ancient code.
NBC News Special Report: White smoke billows from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican, announcing to the world that a new pope has been elected. NBC's Brian Williams and Lester Holt report.
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