Habemus Papam! White Smoke Appears On Top Of Sistine Chapel


White smoke is billowing from the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican, indicating that the 115 voting members of the College of Cardinals have chosen a successor to Pope Benedict XVI. Thousands of members of the faithful rejoiced in St. Peter's Square, huddled together in the the rain as their patience was rewarded with the realization that a new pontiff had been selected shortly after 7 pm Vatican time. 

The Catholic Church is the largest religious institution in the world, boasting some 1.2 billion followers. Although it had been predicted by Cardinal Timothy Dolan that a new pope wouldn't be chosen until Thursday evening, the cardinals managed to select the next pope on just the fifth bailout, reaching the two-thirds majority required for election, or 77 votes.