Until last year, Bergoglio was the archbishop of Buenos Aires before stepping down because of his age. He is 76.
“The duty of the conclave was to appoint a bishop of Rome, and it seems to me that my brother cardinals have chosen one who is from far away, but here I am,” he told the crowd in Vatican City on Wednesday night.
Bergoglio is considered a straight-shooter who calls things as he sees them, and a follower of the church’s most conservative wing. He has clashed with the government of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner over his opposition to gay marriage and free distribution of contraceptives.