Black Smoke From Chapel Chimney: No Pope After First Vote
Cardinals from around the world will resume their voting in the morning, after failing to agree on a new pope during the first day of their conclave today.
After their first vote today, black smoke poured from the Sistine Chapel chimney. If the smoke had been white, it would have signaled that a new pope had been chosen.
The cardinals held their first day of the conclave deeply divided over the problems of the church and who best among them could fix them following the stunning resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.
After gathering at the Vatican's Pauline Chapel on Tuesday, they filed into the Sistine Chapel singing the Litany of Saints. It's a chant asking the saints to help them choose a pope.
Then they took an oath of secrecy, and the master of ceremonies gave the command: "extra omnes!" - which in Latin means "everybody out" - and the doors to the Chapel were closed. The cardinals are now praying and voting in silence.
"The secrecy makes sure that what is happening there is between the cardinals and Almighty God. They have little pieces of paper on the table. In Latin, "I elect as Supreme Pontiff..." and they have to write the name, and they're told to disguise their writing, too," says Vatican spokesman Father Thomas Rosica.
The Vatican made clear it didn't expect a winner on the first ballot. They are expected to vote just once today, and up to four times a day until one cardinal receives at least 77 votes.
The cardinals now return to the Vatican's Santa Marta hotel for the night. They return to the Apostolic Palace for Mass Wednesday morning and a new round of voting.
Between voting sessions the cardinals talk among themselves during meals and down time at the apartments were they're staying.
It's not just smoke from a chimney on top of the Sistine Chapel that will announce if a new pope has been elected. There is also a website offering to send text messages, but it was so flooded with requests, it had to stop taking them.
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