UPDATE: Black Smoke Emerges From the Sistine Chapel, No Pope Selected
Black smoke was seen billowing from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel, meaning Roman Catholic cardinals have not elected a pope in their third round of balloting.
Cardinals voted twice Wednesday in Michelangelo's famed frescoed chapel after a first vote Tuesday in a conclave to elect a successor to Benedict XVI, who stunned the Catholic world last month by becoming the first pope in 600 years to resign.
The conclave was called after Pope Benedict XVI resigned last month, throwing the church into turmoil and exposing deep divisions among cardinals tasked with finding a manager to clean up a corrupt Vatican bureaucracy as well as a pastor who can revive Catholicism in a time of growing secularism.
The schedule for Wednesday's voting includes a brief prayer followed by two rounds of morning balloting from the 115 cardinals. If no one gets the necessary 77 votes, cardinals break for lunch and return for two more ballots in the afternoon.
As thousands waited in the cold night rain in St. Peter's Square, the cardinals signalled Tuesday they had failed on their first attempt to find a leader for the world's 1.2 billion Catholics and their troubled church.
``It's black, it's black, it's waaay black!'' screamed Eliza Nagle, a 21-year-old Notre Dame theology major on an exchange program in Rome, as the smoke poured from the 6-foot-high copper chimney at 7:41 p.m.
``They definitely got the colour right this time,'' agreed Father Andrew Gawrych, an American priest based in Rome, referring to the confusion over the smoke during the 2005 conclave that elected Pope Benedict XVI.
That was thanks to special smoke flares (akin to those used in soccer matches or protests) lit in the chapel ovens to make the burned ballots black, the sign that cardinals must come back for another day of voting Wednesday.
The drama is playing out against the backdrop of the turmoil unleashed by Benedict XVI's surprise resignation and the exposure of deep divisions among cardinals. As a result, many analysts predict a long conclave.
(partial files by Canadian Press & Associated Press)