Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 6:01 pm
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."
The world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics have a new spiritual leader, and for the first time it is someone from the Americas.
As afternoon turned to evening in Vatican City on Wednesday, a little after 7 p.m. local time, white smoke rose from a chimney above the Sistine Chapel and bells rang through St. Peter's Square — the traditional signals that the church's cardinals have chosen a new pope.