By CNS | Published March 14, 2013
WASHINGTON —Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, congratulated the newly elected pope, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, Argentina, who took the name Francis.
Pope Francis “stands as the figure of unity for all Catholics wherever they reside. The bishops of the United States and the people of our 195 dioceses offer prayers for our new leader and promise allegiance to him,” Cardinal Dolan said.
Pope Francis was introduced to the church and the world when he walked out on the balcony at 8:22 p.m. local time.
At the Vatican at 7:05 p.m., clouds of white smoke poured from the chimney on the roof of the Sistine Chapel March 13, indicating a pope had been elected on the conclave’s fifth ballot.
The 115 cardinal electors, including Cardinal Dolan, who gathered to elect the 266th successor of Peter had taken one vote late March 12 and two votes the next morning, resulting in clouds of black smoke. By the fifth ballot they had selected the successor to Pope Benedict XVI, who retired Feb. 28.
“Intense prayer from all around the world surrounded the election of Pope Francis. The bishops of the United States thank God for the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the inspired choice of the College of Cardinals,” he said.