Vatican City The crowd screamed, cheered and waved flags Tuesday as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany, elected the new pope, made his first balcony appearance and addressed the faithful as “dear brothers and sisters.”
Then the crowd fell briefly silent, and Pope Benedict XVI began speaking.
Once again, there were deafening cheers from the tens of thousands of people who had packed St. Peter's Square for a second day to watch the narrow chimney atop the Sistine Chapel to learn whether or not there would be a new pontiff.
Only minutes earlier, the uncertainty had been agonizing.
When the smoke went up shortly before 6 p.m. it seemed white, signalling a new pope, but no one was sure.
People said “white,” and “black,” then some began to chant “it's white, it's white,” and a group of Brazilians started jumping up and down, pushing their fists in the air.
“Habemus papam, habemus papam,” said Daomario Barbalho, 26, from Natal, Brazil, the Latin phrase for “we have a pope.”
As the minutes ticked by the uncertainly grew, and at 5:55 p.m. Amy Turnipseed, 21, an American in the crowd, said: “It looks really white, but I'm not sure.”
There was a brief flutter when the bells rang at 6 p.m., but the cheers died down when they stopped ringing. Minutes later, they began in earnest and the crowd erupted.
“Oh my gosh, this is insane,” Ms. Turnipseed said.
Elsewhere in Rome, people started heading toward Vatican City from all directions, many of them running to try to catch a glimpse of the new pope as he made a balcony appearance.
Some priests and seminarians in clerical garb ran. Nuns pulled up their long skirts and jogged toward the Vatican. Drivers honked their horns and some people began closing stores early and joined the crowds.
Police immediately tried to direct traffic, but to little effect.