June 19, 2013
Black smoke signals no pope chosen at conclave
Black smoke rose from the Vatican's Sistine Chapel today, signaling that Roman Catholic cardinals had not elected a new pope in the first vote of their secret conclave.
The black smoke was seen by thousands of faithful in St. Peter's Square and means the 115 cardinals will hold a new round of voting tomorrow morning.
They will remain sequestered behind the Vatican's mediaeval walls until they elect a successor to Pope Benedict, who abdicated last month.
When the cardinals agree on a pontiff, white smoke will rise from the makeshift chimney on the chapel roof and the bells of St Peter's basilica will peal.No clear favorite has emerged to take the helm of the Church, with some prelates calling for a strong manager to control the much criticized Vatican bureaucracy, while others want a powerful pastor to combat growing secularism.
Italy's Angelo Scola and Brazil's Odilo Scherer are spoken of as possible frontrunners. The former would return the papacy to Italy after 35 years in the hands of Poland's John Paul II and the German Benedict; Scherer would be the first non-European pope since Syrian-born Gregory III in the 8th century.
However, a host of other candidates from numerous nations have also been mentioned as "papabili" - potential popes - including US cardinals Timothy Dolan and Sean O'Malley, Canada's Marc Ouellet and Argentina's Leonardo Sandri.