VATICAN CITY - Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio has been elected pope, becoming the first pontiff from the Americas.

Bergoglio has chosen the name Pope Francis.

White smoke billowed from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel, signaling that 115 cardinals in a papal conclave have elected a new leader for the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.

The conclave was called after Pope Benedict XVI resigned last month, throwing the church into turmoil and exposing deep divisions among cardinals tasked with finding a manager to clean up a corrupt Vatican bureaucracy, as well as a pastor who can revive Catholicism in a time of growing secularism.