POSTED: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 - 12:13pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 - 1:15pm
CNN — White smoke has risen from above the Sistine Chapel, indicating that Roman Catholic cardinals have elected a successor to Pope Benedict XVI. The new pope succeeds Pope Benedict XVI, who became the first pope to resign in hundreds of years. He stepped down February 28, citing advanced age.
[Updated at 2:48 p.m. ET]
Here's what we're going to hear from the cardinal who will introduce the new pope:
"Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum: Habemus Papam! Eminentissimum ac Reverendissimum Dominum, Dominum (FIRST NAME OF NEW POPE) Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae Cardinalem (LAST NAME OF NEW POPE) qui sibi nomen imposuit (POPE'S NEW NAME)."
"I announce with great joy: We have a pope! The eminent and most reverend lord, Lord (FIRST NAME OF NEW POPE) ... Cardinal (LAST NAME OF NEW POPE) who was taken the name (LAST NAME OF NEW POPE), who has taken the name (POPE'S NEW NAME)."
[Updated at 2:41 p.m. ET]
CNN senior Vatican analyst John Allen, on the moment that we will see the pope on the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica: "First impressions last. ... It will be very interesting to see how the new pope comports himself here tonight and makes his introduction."
[Updated at 2:38 p.m. ET]
It shouldn't be long before we find out who the new pope is. When Benedict XVI was elected in 2005, about 45 minutes passed between the appearance of the white smoke and the appearance of the cardinal who introduced the new pope.
Today, the smoke appeared just after 2 p.m. ET (7 p.m. in the Vatican).
[Updated at 2:30 p.m. ET]
The crowd at St. Peter's Square continues to swell. "People are literally running up the block (so they can see the pope) when he comes out on the balcony for the first time," CNN's Anderson Cooper reports from the Vatican.
[Updated at 2:25 p.m. ET]
From CNN's Jim Bittermann at the Vatican: The crowd waiting for the new pope represents all sorts of nationalities -- "everybody from around the world."
"You see a lot of religious folks are here, different orders of nuns and priests, packing in all afternoon," as well as tourists, he said. "There are more people just as I'm speaking. All of the sudden there's been a surge of people coming in."
[Updated at 2:23 p.m. ET]
Like the one in which Benedict XVI was chosen in 2005, this election didn't take long. The white smoke comes on just the conclave's second day.
We have a few steps to take before we learn who the new pope is. Here's what we've been told will happen next:
-- The new pope will leave the Sistine Chapel to put on his papal robes, then re-enter the chapel for prayer with the cardinals.
-- The cardinals will then line up to congratulate the new pope and promise their obedience to him.
-- The pope will then go back to Pauline Chapel to pray for a few moments.
-- Only then will the pope prepare to reveal himself to the public. At the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica, proto-deacon Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran (assuming Tauran himself wasn't elected) will appear and announce the new pope's old name, and the name he will be known as from now on.
-- The pope will then appear on the balcony.
[Posted at 2:09 p.m. ET]
White smoke above the Sistine Chapel have made it official: The Roman Catholic Church has a new pope.
Bells are ringing at the Vatican, and thousands of people gathered in the square are cheering.
We will continue to update this link with new information as it becomes available.