-- Only then will the pope prepare to reveal himself to the public. At the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica, proto-deacon Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran (assuming Tauran himself wasn't elected) will appear and announce the new pope's old name, and the name he will be known as from now on.
-- The pope will then appear on the balcony.
[Posted at 2:10 p.m. ET]
White smoke above the Sistine Chapel has made it official: The Roman Catholic Church has a new pope.
Bells are ringing at the Vatican, and thousands of people gathered in the square are cheering.
We'll find out in the minutes to come who the new pope is. Stay with us as we find out.
[Updated at 2:10 p.m. ET]
Uniformed police officers have now taken over the task of guarding the pope emeritus. When his papacy ended 10 minutes ago, Swiss Guards left their posts, closed the doors of Castel Gandolfo, and hung up their halberds.
[Updated at 2 p.m. ET]
The papacy of Benedict XVI is now officially over, ending a pontificate in retirement rather than death for the first time in nearly 600 years.
[Updated at 1:05 p.m. ET]
We now have an official English translation of what Benedict said in his last public appearance as pope, from the balcony of the papal retreat in Castel Gandolfo:
"I am happy to be with you, surrounded by the beauty of Creation and your well wishes, which do me such good. Thank you for your friendship and your affection.
"You know that this day is different for me than the preceding ones. I am no longer the Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church, or I will be until 8 this evening and then no longer. I am simply a pilgrim beginning the last leg of his pilgrimage on this earth. But I would still [applause] ... thank you ... I would still -- with my heart, with my love, with my prayers, with my reflection, and with all my inner strength -- like to work for the common good and the good of the church and of humanity. I feel very supported by your kindness. Let us go forward with the Lord for the good of the church and the world. Thank you. I now wholeheartedly impart my blessing.
"Blessed be God Almighty, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Good night! Thank you all!"
We should note that although Benedict said he was no longer pope, he officially will be the pontiff until 2 p.m ET (8 p.m. in Rome).
[Updated at 11:52 a.m. ET]
And that, if things go according to plan, will have been the last we see of Benedict as leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.
His papacy is expected to end at 2 p.m ET (8 p.m. in Rome).
Benedict, who will be known as pope emeritus, is expected to stay at the Castel Gandolfo papal retreat until the Catholic Church's cardinals elect his successor.
After the successor is chosen, Benedict is expected to live in a former gardener's house at the Vatican to lead a life of prayer.
The cardinals' conclave is expected to begin sometime in March.
[Updated at 11:43 a.m. ET]
"Dear friends," the pope tells the crowd, according to an English translation, "I am happy to enjoy your sympathy. I give thanks for your friendship and for your affection.