Joseph Ratzinger of Germany was elected by cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church Tuesday as the new pope, succeeding John Paul II.
Ratzinger, a 78-year-old native of Bavaria known as a theological conservative, chose the name Benedict XVI. He is the 256th pope, and the second consecutive non-Italian.
Bells rang in St. Peter's Square and white smoke billowed above the Sistine Chapel before the announcement was made. Ratzinger, who was dean of the college of cardinals, was chosen after just a two-day conclave, an unusually brief period of deliberation by historical standards.
Thousands cheered Ratzinger as he appeared shortly after the bells signaled his election. He received at least 77 votes in the 115-member cardinal college.
Pope John Paul II, a native of Poland, died on April 2.