From AOL News -
Bells Ring in Rome as Pope Elected
German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger has been elected as the 265th Pope
German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger has been elected as the 265th Pope.
He has taken the name Pope Benedict.
Bells chimed at St Peter's Basilica and tens of thousands of flag-waving pilgrims filled the square, chanting: "Viva il Papa!'' or "Long live the pope!''
The bells rang after a confusing smoke signal that Vatican Radio initially suggested was black but then declared was too difficult to call. White smoke is used to announce a pope's election to the world.
"It's only been 24 hours - surprising how fast he was elected,'' Vatican Radio said, commenting on how the new pope was elected after just four or five ballots.
The 265th pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church succeeds John Paul II, who gained extraordinary popularity over a 26-year pontificate, history's third-longest papacy. Millions mourned him around the world in a tribute to his charisma.
Cardinals had faced a choice over whether to seek an older, skilled administrator who could serve as a ''transitional'' pope while the church absorbs John Paul's legacy, or a younger dynamic pastor and communicator - perhaps from Latin America or elsewhere in the developing world where the church is growing.
While John Paul II, a Pole, was elected to challenge the communist system in place in eastern Europe in 1978 the new pontiff faces new issues: the need for dialogue with Islam, the divisions between the wealthy north and the poor south as well as problems within his own church.
These include the priest sex-abuse scandals that have cost the church millions in settlements in the US and elsewhere; coping with a chronic shortage of priests and nuns in the West; and halting the stream of people leaving a church indifferent to teachings they no longer find relevant.
Under John Paul II, the church's central authority grew, often to dismay of bishops and rank-and-file Catholics around the world. Even though John Paul II appointed all but two of the men who elected the new pope, it was no guarantee that the new man would necessarily be in his mold.
Pope John XXIII was 77 when he was elected pope in 1958 and viewed as a transitional figure, but he called the Second Vatican Council that revolutionised the church from within and opened up its dialogue with non-Catholics.