"Pope Live" follows the choice of the new pope as seen by journalists from The Associated Press around the world. It will be updated throughout the day with breaking news and other items of interest.
He has won the papacy, but there is little time for celebration.
Pope Francis takes over a Vatican plagued by scandal in its bureaucracy and under pressure over its failures to protect children from sexual abuse by priests. The Church is also losing parishioners and its influence on public life, and some Catholics face persecution and violence in parts of the Middle East and China.
Lauded for his humility and austerity, the 76-year-old from Argentina will be called upon to emulate one of his namesakes, St. Francis of Assisi, who saw his calling as trying to rebuild the church.
Francis will celebrate his first Mass as pope in the Sistine Chapel on Thursday and will be installed officially on Tuesday, ahead of the busy Easter calendar.
His first public words to the thousands cheering in St. Peter's Square today were characteristically humble: "Thank you for the welcome."
With that, the 266th papacy has begun.
"It will bring fresh air to the Church ... I think the Church needs that at this time, somebody from a different zone."
— the Rev. Keneth Obiekwe (oh-bee-AYK-way), pastor of St. John the Baptist Church in central Louisiana, a state whose Catholic origins are reflected in its division into parishes rather than counties. He says that although he had thought the next pope might be from Latin America, he was still surprised when he turned out to be right.
— Janet McConnaughey
FRANCIS TO VISIT BENEDICT
Pope Francis will visit his predecessor Benedict XVI at the papal retreat in Castel Gandolfo south of Rome.
U.S. Cardinal Timothy Dolan says Francis told fellow cardinals following the conclave that made him pope: "Tomorrow morning, I'm going to visit Benedict."
Benedict resigned on Feb. 28, becoming the first pope to do so in nearly 600 years.
A MORE CHEERFUL CONCLAVE
Arkansas est solum IV percent catholicus — or, in English, Arkansas is only 4 percent Catholic. But it does have a Pope County. In the county seat of Russellville, a Nigerian priest who leads St. John's Catholic Church says Pope Francis' election had a different feel than previous ones because the previous pontiff, Benedict XVI, is still alive.
"So this conclave took place in a good mood. The cardinals were not in grief, nobody died," says the Rev. Chuma Ibebuike (ee-bay-BWEE-kay).
Ibebuike says having a pope from the Americas gives hope to those who would like to see a Catholic leader from Africa or Asia. "That the leader of the whole church comes from the new church, so to say, is amazing and I think he will really strengthen the faith of the old church," he says. "The black pope, that's what we are still waiting for."
— Jeannie Nuss — Twitter http://twitter.com/jeannienuss
POPE AND THE DIRTY WAR
Pope Francis has been criticized by some for his actions years ago during Argentina's "Dirty War."
Many Argentines remain angry over the Catholic Church's acknowledged failure to openly confront a right-wing dictatorship after a 1976 coup that was kidnapping and killing thousands of its citizens as it sought to eliminate "subversive elements."
Under his leadership, Argentina's bishops issued a collective apology in October 2012 for the church's failures to protect its flock during the 1970s. But the statement blamed the era's violence in roughly equal measure on both the junta and its enemies.
That statement came far too late for some activists, who accused Bergoglio of being more concerned about the church's image than about aiding human rights investigations in Argentina.
Bergoglio twice invoked his right under Argentine law to refuse to appear in court. When he eventually did testify in 2010, human rights attorney Myriam Bregman said his answers were evasive.
At least two cases directly involved Bergoglio. One examined the torture of two of his Jesuit priests — Orlando Yorio and Francisco Jalics — who were kidnapped in 1976 from the slums where they advocated liberation theology. Yorio accused Bergoglio of effectively handing them over to the death squads by declining to tell the regime that he endorsed their work. Jalics refused to discuss it after moving into seclusion in a German monastery.
Both men were freed after Bergoglio took extraordinary, behind-the-scenes action to save them. Bergoglio never shared the details until he was interviewed for a 2010 biography.
Bergoglio — who ran Argentina's Jesuit order during the dictatorship — told his biographer that he regularly hid people on church property during the dictatorship. But all this was done in secret, at a time when church leaders publicly endorsed the junta and urged Catholics to restore their "love for country" despite the terror in the streets.
— Mike Warren — Twitter — http://twitter.com/mwarrenap
Pope Francis is getting right to work. He will celebrate his first Mass as pope in the Sistine Chapel on Thursday, and will be installed officially as pope on Tuesday, according to the Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi.
BENEDICT IN THE BACKGROUND
The pope leads alone.
Benedict XVI's decision to be the first pontiff to step down in 600 years raised a host of questions about his role in the Church. But he made clear as he ended his leadership that there was no doubt who would be in charge, pledging obedience to the future pontiff.
The former pope's coat of arms was removed from a floral display in front of the Vatican's governor's palace and his fisherman's ring, an official part of the pope's regalia that features an image of St. Peter fishing from a boat, as well as the personal seals and stamps he used for official papers were destroyed.
Benedict has literally been kept out of sight. The emeritus pope has only been spotted once since retiring — in a photo snapped by a paparazzo hiding in a tree.
— Victor L. Simpson
Doctors are buzzing about the new pope having just one lung. He had one removed due to an infection as a teenager.
"It could be simply an infection that couldn't be cleared with antibiotics," or even tuberculosis, says Dr. Joe B. Putnam, chairman of thoracic surgery at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn.
"The key thing is he had it as a child and has probably taken very good care of himself. My hunch is that he's a lifelong nonsmoker," Putnam says. "He looked great" in the public appearance today, he added. "I don't think he's going to slow down at all."
The late actor John Wayne had a lung removed for cancer, Putnam notes: "He made seven more movies after that, including 'True Grit,' for which he won an Oscar."
— Marilynn Marchione, AP Chief Medical Writer — Twitter http://twitter.com/MmarchioneAP
The Rev. Enrique Ramirez, a Dominican priest in Lima, Peru, was pleased that the new pope seems less of an intellectual and more of a shepherd than his predecessor.
"The writings of Benedict XVI are marvelous because he is an intellectual. Here our new Pope Francis seems to be a bit closer to pastoral duties side, as that's what he's done all his life," he says.
Ann Hochman, who was picking up her daughter Jane from daycare at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen In Baltimore, said she was very excited to have a Latin American pope.
"He seems fantastic, he seems very warm," she said. "To have someone from our side of the world is pretty exciting."
— Alex Dominguez
Paolo Olivares, a 29-year-old seminarian from Chile, says it's very important to have a Latin American pope.
"Yes, yes, yes! I think it's a change that the church needs," he says. "I think Cardinal Bergoglio has done a great job in Argentina and he will do even better in Rome."
Maggy Pena, a 45-year-old Rome resident from the Dominican Republic, was ecstatic, jumping up and down and screaming out her pride in being Latina.
"I'm so happy because the new pope is from Latin America. That means we are a big people," she said. "For the first time we have a pope. And next we will have an American president. You'll see!"
— Karl Ritter — Twitter —http://twitter.com/karl_ritter
"We hope that this man will be bold, will be courageous and will try to clean up the sexual abuse scandal. We feel the very first step should be to discipline the cardinals and the bishops who are complicit in the cover-up, because until that happens this behavior will continue." — Barbara Dorris, victim outreach director of SNAP, or Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests.
— Gillian Flaccus
WINNING OVER ROMANS
Before they even saw his face, Pope Francis had already won over the Roman masses.
The announcement that he would be known by the same name as St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of Italy, sent the crowd into ecstasy.
He did even better with his first words, when Francis said the cardinals had reached to the "end of the earth" to find the bishop of Rome — recalling the beloved Pope John Paul II, a Polish cardinal who told his first crowd in 1978 that cardinals had called him "from a far country."
The former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio is the son of an Italian immigrant and his Italian is only lightly accented.
— Victor L. Simpson
ONE CATHOLIC'S THOUGHTS
After Francis was chosen as pope, AP's Stacey Plaisance caught up with Robert Stanley, a Catholic native of Chicago and a freshman at the University of Notre Dame. Stanley is enjoying his first trip to New Orleans and was eating lunch at a cafe near St. Patrick's Church downtown when the news broke.
Here's some of his reaction:
— "It's good for the Church. I was worried we'd have another Italian pope. Italy controls so much of the Church. They don't need to control the papacy too."
— "In South America, they are extremely dedicated in a way you don't see in the U.S., Italy or in France. They have pilgrimages where they literally crawl for miles. They are very dedicated, devout and pious. "
—"It's a new face, and I feel like he will have a greater appreciation for the problems of the developing world, in places like Africa, India and South America. It's bigger-picture issues, and that's the purpose of the Church, to help the naked, the hungry, those most in need."
— Stacey Plaisance — https://twitter.com/splaisance
"We share many common goals — from the promotion of peace, social justice and human rights, to the eradication of poverty and hunger — all core elements of sustainable development." — U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
A NAME WITH CACHET
"Francis" is a name that carries a lot of cachet in Italy.
St. Francis of Assisi is one of Italy's patron saints. The Umbrian hill town of Assisi, where the saint lived a humble life of poverty, is one of Italy's major draws for pilgrims and other tourists. It is also associated with world peace movements.
St. Francis Xavier is another noted evangelist and a prominent Jesuit missionary. The new Pope Francis is one of the Jesuit order's most prominent members.
— Frances D'Emilio — Twitter — http://twitter.com/fdemilio
ONE OF THE FAMILY
In Cuba, parish priest Gregorio Alvarez says he believes Pope Francis' background could lead the Roman Catholic Church to focus more on the ills afflicting humanity, and less on internal issues.
"One hopes that the church will be closer to the problems of humankind and not only the problems of the church," Alvarez says.
"Being Latin American gives him an advantage — he understands the problems of poverty, of violence, of manipulation of the masses," he says. "All that gives him experience for the job. ... He's one of the family."
— Anne-Marie Garcia — Twitter http://twitter.com/AnneMarie279
RIGHT FOR THE JOB?
Tess Ernest, a volunteer at the Saint Francis Xavier church in El Paso, Texas, says Pope Francis's background will help him undertake the task before him.
"Jesuits are missionaries and educators but also very good administrators and that is what the Church needs now," she says.
A Jesuit might be the right man for the job "after all that has happened in the Church."
MESSI AND POPE
In Miami's Little Buenos Aires, Argentines broke out into cheers and applause as the new pope was announced.
"Long live Argentina!" some shouted. "God is Argentina!" cried others.
"We have Messi and we have the pope now," says Gabriela Pisquariello, an owner of the Buenos Aires Bakery & Cafe, referring to star Argentine soccer player Lionel Messi.
— Christine Armario — Twitter http://twitter.com/cearmario
Pope Francis' transition will be much smoother than others in the pontificate's bumpy two-millennium history.
— In 897, Pope Stephen VI hated his deceased predecessor, Pope Formosus, so much he had his minions dig up his corpse. The new pope then held a mock trial for the old one, stripped the corpse of its vestments, cut off the two fingers that bestowed papal blessings and threw the body into the Tiber — before he himself was strangled to death.
— Pope Sergius III in the 10th century seized the papacy through armed force, and he had his imprisoned predecessor, Pope Leo V, strangled.
— Alexander VI won the papacy just before the 16th-century Protestant Reformation by bribing cardinals and promising lucrative jobs. The cardinals who elected his successor included his illegitimate son.
The Vatican says the new pope's official name is Pope Francis, without a Roman numeral.
The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, sought to clear up any possible confusion, noting that Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, who announced the name to the world, said simply "Francis." It is also listed that way in the first Vatican bulletin on the new pope.
"It will become Francis I after we have a Francis II," Lombardi quipped.
In choosing a 76-year-old pope, the cardinals clearly decided that they didn't need a vigorous, young pope who would reign for decades but rather a seasoned, popular and humble pastor who would draw followers to the faith.
— Nicole Winfield — Twitter http://twitter.com/nwinfield
Follow AP reporters on Twitter where available.