Story Summary

Electing a Pope: Cardinals meet at the Vatican for the Papal Conclave

Vatican Morning MassCardinals from around the world are gathering in the Sistine Chapel to elect a new pope. The historic process is filled with pomp and ceremony and so shrouded in secrecy that its very name, conclave, means “under lock and key.”

At approximately 1:06 p.m. New Orleans time on Wednesday, March 13, 2013, white smoke rose from the chimney at the Sistine Chapel indicating that a new Pope had been elected.

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News with a Twist

How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Pope

Habemus Papam, Habemus Papam! The faithful chanted in St. Peter’s Circle yesterday as the latest earthbound representative of St. Peter, Pope Francis was named and then spoke his first public words. Soon thereafter the vulgar and predictable Catholic Church bashing began in earnest.

On my radio show this morning, I, as a practicing, Traditional-Catholic, was asked to defend the priest child abuse scandals, the celibacy vow, the prohibition against women priests, married priests and “gay” priests, fasting requirements, tithing, bans on divorce, regular confessions, Latin prayers, the Latin language, the Holy Trinity, the Ave Maria, the Pater Noster, Holy Mary, Peter Paul & Mary, the transfiguration,  the Immaculate conception, purgatory, sins, 7 deadly sins, Dante, Dante’s inferno, Disco Inferno, the Martyrs, the Saints, the New Orleans Saints, St Augustus, St Martin, St Charles, no not the Street St Charles the Archbishop of Milan, bans on contraception, birth control and meat on Fridays ; defend your Lent, Advent, sins for excessive rent, BIG tents, and stem cell experiments.

I probably left a few hundred gripes and complaints out but you get the point: those who are NOT Catholics, really don’t WANT to be Catholics, but being the progressive devils they are, don’t want anyone else to be Catholic either. I wager that 95% of the people that complain about the Holy Roman Catholic Church are as likely to become Catholics as they are of volunteering to play door man on that famous express elevator to Hell.

So why are so many, so worked up over Catholicism? Because as long as the light of the Church is shining, the world cannot be returned to the darkened state it was in before that fateful day when the Father blessed us with only son.

The Light of Lights therefore is an immortal threat, to the complainer of complainers who refuse to believe there is but one “Open Door” button, on that infamous elevator and only He holds the key.

New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond says Pope Francis is a first in many ways.

“He’s a Jesuit.  The first time in the history of the church we’ve had a Jesuit pope.  The first in the history of the church that we’ve had a pope from South America, and the first time in the history of the church we have a pope who chooses the name Francis,” Aymond said from his office, less than an hour after the new pope’s identity was revealed.

Aymond believes the new pope chose Francis as his name after St Francis of Assisi.

“Francis tells the story of God calling him to rebuild the church.  And I think Pope Francis will see this as a time for renewal, a time for rebuilding,” Aymond said.  “I think he will call us, in a new way, to a great love for one another, charity, and I think for a great love for the poor.”

Aymond expects the new pope to focus more on operations within the Vatican before he takes any big stances or addresses any issues outside the church or internationally.

He also says the former pope’s retirement, rather than serving until his death, will probably set an example that will be continued into the future.

Pope Francis is the first pope from outside Europe, the first Jesuit, and the first to take the name Francis.

But Aymond says don’t expect another first, at least, any time soon.

“I don’t think there will be a pope from the United States in my lifetime.  But I certainly would not rule out the fact that someday in the history of the church there could be a pope from our country.”

A special mass was held Wednesday night at the St. Louis Cathedral to celebrate the election of Pope Francis.

Archbishop Gregory Aymond delivered remarks to hundreds of local and visiting Catholics who reflected on a day described as historic.

“I have goosebumps right now. I was thrilled that we have a new pope. We were excited; we were watching with our phones to see who the new pope will be,” Carla Ratcliff said.

“I think this is a wonderful choice. I have heard he is a very simple man and is very humble and very intelligent too,” Sister Marina Aranzabal said.

“We’re anxious to see that he can carry on the tradition of our Catholic faith,” Christine Gobert said.

The St. Louis Cathedral was full of local and visiting Catholics who all said they were excited about Pope Francis and his leadership.

captureROME (CNN) – Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina has been elected the next pope. He is the first non-European pope.

The decision came after the fifth ballot cast by the 115 cardinals since the papal conclave began Tuesday.

The new pope succeeds Pope Benedict XVI, who became the first pope to resign in hundreds of years. He stepped down February 28, citing advanced age.

The new pope becomes the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.

Moments after the newly elected Pope Francis addressed a large Vatican City crowd for the first time since being elected pontiff, a message on the pope’s Twitter account — which had been dormant since Benedict XVI stepped down — said, “Habemus Papam Franciscum.” That translates, from Latin, as, “We have Pope Francis.”

captureWhite smoke has risen from a chimney above the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City, indicating that Roman Catholic cardinals have elected a successor to Pope Benedict XVI.

Watch the ABC News digital special report here:

Watch the ABC News network special report here:

Cardinals Enter Sistine Chapel(CNN) — Benedict XVI’s shock resignation in February — the first for almost 600 years — sent experts inside and outside the Vatican rushing to consult church law to work out what will happen next.

The ensuing conclave fever has unearthed some quirky facts alongside the more significant.

Here’s a selection to drop into conversation.

Conclave means “with key.” The elaborate voting process dates to the early Middle Ages and was born out of frustration after a gathering of cardinals took nearly three years to select a pope. The locals got so fed up, they tore the roof off the building where the cardinals were meeting and then decided to lock the cardinals in, to speed up a decision.

Bread and water

Eventually Pope Gregory X was chosen. He wanted to avoid a repeat of his own experience and thus the conclave became a tradition. Cardinals in the future would get only one dish at their noon and evening meal if they took more than three days to decide … and only bread, water, and wine if it went beyond eight. Gone are those food restrictions but Pope Gregory would be proud, more recently, that the cardinals have, on average, chosen a pope in roughly three days.

Renaissance luxury

While Gregory X’s approach had been to make conditions so spartan that the cardinals were pressured into making a decision fast, historian and author Frederic Baumgartner said the cardinals of the Renaissance expected to live more comfortably. They moved the conclave from the Papal Archbasilica of St. John Lateran — or the Lateran Palace — to the Vatican because the palace had become so rickety. Voting was initially held in the Vatican’s Pauline Chapel but since 1878 the Sistine Chapel has consistently been the venue.

Conclave doctor

While the cardinal-electors are locked in the Sistine Chapel on their own for the actual balloting process, they’re not entirely alone for the length of the conclave. Alongside officials such as the Secretary of the College of Cardinals and masters of ceremonies, priests must be available for hearing confessions, two medical doctors for possible emergencies, and an adequate team of domestic staff to prepare and serve meals, and for general housekeeping, according to Monsignor Charles Burns. In his guide to the conclave Msgr. Burns said these staff are also bound to observe total confidentiality and must swear an oath in Italian.

Male and unmarried?

There is nothing to prohibit votes being cast for someone outside the College of Cardinals. CNN’s Vatican expert John Allen said any person who would be eligible for ordination to the Catholic priesthood — therefore an unmarried male — could be elected as pope. But he said in practice the new pope will be elected from among the cardinals who are voting.

Only one man elected pope has not been a cardinal. Archbishop Bartolomeo Prignano of Bari in Italy was named Pope Urban VI back in 1378. Msgr. Burns warned that this led to the Great Western Schism, which divided Christendom for almost 40 years — until Pope Gregory XII’s resignation.

Bookmakers are also allowing bets on outsiders ranging from U2 singer Bono to disgraced American cyclist Lance Armstrong to lead the church. The 10,000-1 odds are perhaps an indication that the outcome of the conclave will remain traditional.

Italian advantage?

Italians have clearly had the home field advantage, dominating the papacy through the centuries. The conclave of 1978 produced the closest thing to a genuine surprise we’ve had in decades, in John Paul II, the first non-Italian in 500 years. And while the election of this Polish cardinal was a shock, the cardinal electors had looked outside Italy before, though not often. In 1492, the conclave selected a Spaniard, Pope Alexander VI … and in previous centuries, a pope was chosen from Syria and another from the Netherlands.

Why me?

Behind Michelangelo’s “Last Judgement” painting lies the Sala de Lacrima — the Room of Tears, where the newly elected pope goes to change out of his red cardinals robes into the white vestments of the pope. Fr. Christopher Whitehead said the room was so-named “because the poor man obviously breaks down at being elected.”

What to wear, what to wear

Msgr. Burns said three sizes of soutane, large, medium and small, would be laid out in the Sala de Lacrima, ready to be adjusted to fit the pope-elect. If he is not already a bishop, the Dean of the College of Cardinals would ordain him.

Red slippers

Constantine the Great gave popes the privileges of emperors — meaning they could wear red shoes. It had been believed that Benedict’s slippers were made by Italian fashion house Prada. CNN’s Christiane Amanpour revealed that it was not in fact so. And Dan Rivers spoke to a Peruvian cobbler as well as some designers responsible for the papal robes.

Wrong ransacking

Baumgartner said there had been a tradition that the residents of Rome would ransack the dwelling of the cardinal that was elected to be pope — on the grounds that he didn’t need it anymore. There was at least one example of the Roman people ransacking the house of the wrong cardinal, during the 400 to 500 years the tradition was followed, he said. “Not only did he not become pope but he didn’t have anything left in his house.”

You have been watching

Vatican spokesman the Rev. Tom Rosica told CNN that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI watched on television as cardinals took their oath of secrecy in the Sistine Chapel to begin the conclave to elect his successor, and also saw on television the black smoke from the Sistine Chapel Tuesday night to indicate they had not agreed on anyone yet.

Definitely not Peter

It wasn’t until the end of the 10th century that the head of the church started taking a different name to the one he was born with, said eminent Italian church historian Alberto Melloni. But since then only one, Adrian VI in the 16th century, has kept his baptismal name.

In the long history of popes, stretching back two millennia to St. Peter, some names have picked up negative associations, while others have come to signify conservatism or a desire for change. While we wait to hear what the 266th pope of the Roman Catholic church will call himself, we can be sure of only one thing, according to Melloni: the new pope will not be called Peter. This is out of respect for the first St. Peter, the Apostle — but perhaps also reflects a centuries’ old prophecy that a Peter II will be the very last pope to serve.

Vatican ChimneyROME (CNN) — Black smoke poured from the chimney fixed to the roof of the Sistine Chapel on Wednesday morning, indicating that the cardinals’ first two votes of the day were inconclusive.

The 115 voting cardinals are taking part in the second day of the secretive conclave to elect a new pope.

They will have two more opportunities to vote later Wednesday.

A two-thirds majority is required to confirm a new pontiff to step into the shoes left empty by the historic resignation of Benedict XVI at the end of last month.

Whoever it may be will take on the leadership of a church that has been rocked by child sex abuse scandals and corruption claims in recent years.

White or black smoke?

No smoke emerged after the first vote Wednesday morning, meaning the cardinals then entered a second round of voting.

The black smoke that poured from the chimney at 11:39 a.m. (6:39 a.m. ET) indicated that no result came from that second ballot, either.

The cardinals have now gone to lunch in the Vatican hotel where they are staying. While away from the Sistine Chapel, they are able to have informal conversations and mull their options.

The smoke came somewhat earlier in the day than expected Wednesday because once the cardinals are familiar with the voting procedures, they can move relatively quickly, according to the Rev. Thomas Rosica, a Vatican spokesman.

However, that does not mean they are moving rapidly toward a decisive vote.

The cardinals will go back into the Sistine Chapel, famed for its frescoes by Michelangelo, for a second round of balloting at 4 p.m. (11 a.m. ET), and all eyes will then return to the chimney.

Three ballots have been held so far.

Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi told reporters that the inconclusive results so far were not unexpected, based on the number of ballots held in past conclaves.

Rosica added, “This is normal and one should not interpret this as division amongst the cardinals.”

Abuse claims

In response to a question about criticism leveled against some cardinals by a group representing the victims of clerical sex abuse, the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, the Vatican spokesmen defended their right to take part in the conclave.

“We are very well of SNAP and their activities,” Rosica said. “SNAP have chosen this event to amplify their activities.”

The cardinals named by SNAP “are worthy of our esteem,” he said.

Last week, SNAP released its “Dirty Dozen” list of men it judged would be the worst candidates for pope because of their handling of, or comments on, past allegations of child sex abuse against clergy.

The scandal has shaken global confidence in the church in recent years, and dealing with it effectively is sure to be a priority for the new pope.

Peal of Vatican bells

The cardinals will conduct four votes a day for three days, Lombardi said, with a break likely on Saturday if no one has been elected by then. The day’s pause would allow the cardinals time for further discussions before they cast their ballots again.

Two stoves are set up in the Sistine Chapel especially for the votes. The ballots are burned in one, while special cartridges containing a mix of chemicals are released in the other to make the color of the smoke more obvious, either black or white, Rosica said.

The cartridges produce smoke for about seven minutes, he said.

If a pope has been elected, the cardinals burn the ballots immediately. If not, the cardinals hold on to them and proceed to a second round of voting.

They burn the ballots from both rounds together after the second round.

In the past, discerning the color has been difficult at times, as it has appeared gray. But there is a second, unmistakable sign: If the smoke is indeed white, the Vatican church bells ring to celebrate the choice.

This can happen after a short delay, as was the case when the white smoke went up to signal the election of Benedict XVI.

In any case, the wait for the announcement of a new church leader should not be too long. The longest papal conclave in the past century took just five days.

If a new pope is in place by Sunday, he would probably lead the Angelus prayers on that day, Lombardi said. The first public Mass would be the inauguration Mass.

‘Intense period’

Black smoke also billowed from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel on Tuesday night, after the cardinals failed to choose a new pope in the first vote of their conclave.

Huddled under umbrellas as rain came down, crowds of onlookers watched the chimney and big screens set up in St. Peter’s Square.

Filipino priest and CNN iReporter Joel Camaya was among a number of Catholic faithful in the square who watched as the black smoke poured out.

There was “a collective sigh of disappointment and everyone started heading home,” he said. “There was no pope, yet.”

The public interest reflects the “very intense and beautiful period” the church is experiencing at the moment, Lombardi said. “We are feeling the level of intensity of the wait. We saw many people in the square last night, a lot more than I myself had expected.”

Pope emeritus Benedict XVI also watched on television as the black smoke rose on Tuesday, Lombardi said.

Benedict had earlier watched on TV as the scarlet-clad cardinals attended a special Mass and took their oath of secrecy in the Sistine Chapel to begin the conclave to elect his successor, he said.

The Vatican received calls Tuesday night from people concerned that the heavy black smoke might have caused damage to the Sistine Chapel or created problems for the cardinals, Rosica said.

But, he said, he could confirm that the frescoes have not been damaged and that the cardinals are enjoying good health.

Communication ban

The cardinals will remain locked in isolation until one candidate, almost certainly from among their number, garners a two-thirds majority, or 77 votes, and is named the new spiritual head of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics.

Until that moment, the cardinals are barred from communicating with the outside world in any way. Jamming devices have been installed to prevent the use of cell phones or other devices.

The cardinals stay in the Casa Santa Marta, a Vatican City hotel, for the duration of the conclave, moving from there to the Pauline Chapel to pray or the Sistine Chapel to vote.

Applause echoed around St. Peter’s Basilica on Tuesday as Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, offered thanks for the “brilliant pontificate” of Benedict, whose unexpected resignation precipitated the selection of a new pope.

When cardinals elected Benedict in 2005, after a conclave that ran into a second day, the white smoke signaling the decision came about six hours after an earlier, inconclusive vote.

Benedict is currently staying at the summer papal residence, Castel Gandolfo, while restoration work is carried out on a small monastery within Vatican City. Once it is ready, he will live out his days there in study and prayer.

CNN’s Richard Allen Greene and Hada Messia reported from Rome and Laura Smith-Spark wrote in London. CNN’s Ben Brumfield and Stephen Howie contributed to this report.

Black Smoke – No PopeROME (CNN) — Black smoke billowed from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel Tuesday night, indicating that cardinals gathered at the Vatican to elect a new pope had not chosen one in the first ballot of their conclave.

The start of the secret election got underway earlier in the day, as the heavy wooden doors to the chapel swung closed on the 115 Roman Catholic cardinals charged with selecting the next pontiff.

The next round of voting will begin Wednesday morning. Results will be revealed by puffs of smoke from the chimney following each ballot.

Black smoke, no pope. White smoke, success.

Cardinals Enter Sistine ChapelROME (CNN) — The heavy wooden doors to the Sistine Chapel swung closed Tuesday, signaling the start of the secret election, or conclave, in which 115 Roman Catholic cardinals will pick the next pope.

Now all eyes will turn to the chimney installed on the roof of the historic chapel.

From this point on, the only clue the world will have of what is happening inside will be periodic puffs of smoke that follow each round of voting.

Black smoke, no pope. White smoke, success.

On a day rich with symbolism, the scarlet-clad cardinals entered the Sistine Chapel in solemn procession, chanting prayers and watched over by the magnificent paintings of Renaissance artist Michelangelo.

Each of the cardinal-electors — those under age 80 who are eligible to vote — then swore an oath of secrecy, led by Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, the most senior cardinal in the conclave.

A designated official then gave the order in Latin, “Extra omnes” — that is, “Those who are extra, leave.”

With all those not taking part in the conclave gone, the cardinals will remain locked in total isolation until one candidate can garner two-thirds of their votes.

That man will emerge from the process as the new spiritual leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics.

The cardinals will probably vote Tuesday, but they don’t have to, Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said Monday.

If they do, it’s likely the first smoke might be seen around 8 p.m. (3 p.m. ET), he said.

Huddled under umbrellas as the rain came down, crowds of curious onlookers watched on big screens set up in St. Peter’s Square until the doors to the Sistine Chapel were shut.

‘Noble mission’

Earlier, the cardinals celebrated a special morning Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica, where they prayed for guidance in making a choice that could be crucial to the future direction of a church rocked by scandal in recent years.

Applause echoed around St. Peter’s as Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, offered thanks for the “brilliant pontificate” of Benedict XVI, whose unexpected resignation precipitated the selection of a new pope.

Sodano’s homily focused on a message of love and unity, calling on all to cooperate with the new pontiff in the service of the church.

“My brothers, let us pray that the Lord will grant us a pontiff who will embrace this noble mission with a generous heart,” he concluded.

Members of the public had waited in long lines Tuesday morning to join the Mass, which was open to all. As the service began, the morning’s brilliant sunshine came to an abrupt end, with the skies letting loose thunder, lightning and a torrential downpour.

Before the service, the cardinal-electors moved into Casa Santa Marta, their residence at the Vatican for the duration of the conclave.

Jamming devices have been put in place to stop them from communicating with the outside world using mobile phones or other electronic means as they make their decision.

Rome is abuzz

Rome was abuzz Monday with preparations for the conclave, from the 5,600 journalists the Vatican said had been accredited to cover the event to the red curtains unfurled from the central balcony at St. Peter’s, the spot where the world will meet the new pope once he is elected.

Tailors have also completed sets of clothes for the new pope to wear as soon as he is elected, in three different sizes.

Video released by the Vatican over the weekend showed the installation of a pair of stoves inside the chapel. One is used to burn the cardinals’ ballots after they are cast and the other to send up the smoke signal — the one that alerts the world that a vote has been taken and whether there’s a new pope.

Workers scaled the roof of the chapel Saturday to install the chimneys.

When cardinals elected Benedict in 2005, the white smoke signaling the decision came about six hours after an earlier, inconclusive vote, Lombardi said.

It took another 50 minutes for Benedict to dress, pray and finally appear on the balcony of St. Peter’s, he said.

The longest conclave held since the turn of the 20th century lasted five days.

On Monday, cardinals held the last of several days of meetings, known as General Congregations, to discuss church affairs and get acquainted. Lombardi said 152 cardinals were on hand for the final meeting.

As well as getting to know their counterparts from around the world, the cardinals discussed the major issues facing the church, including its handling of allegations of child sex abuse by priests and a scandal over leaks from the Vatican last year that revealed claims of corruption, as well as the church’s future direction.

Church rules prevent cardinals over the age of 80 from participating in the conclave but allow them to attend the meetings that precede the vote.

Who will be chosen?

Meanwhile, the Italian press is full of speculation about which cardinal may win enough support from his counterparts to be elected, and what regional alliances are being formed.

According to CNN Vatican analyst John Allen, also a correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter, the race is wide open as the cardinals enter the conclave.

Unlike in 2005, when Benedict XVI was believed to be the favorite going into the secret election, no one has emerged as a clear frontrunner this time around, he said.

Some names have cropped up in media reports as possible contenders, however. They include Italy’s Cardinal Angelo Scola; Brazil’s Odilo Scherer; Marc Ouellet of Quebec, Canada; U.S. cardinals Sean O’Malley of Boston and Timothy Dolan of New York; and Ghana’s Peter Turkson.

More than 80% of Africans believe their continent is ready for an African pope, but only 61% believe the world is, an exclusive survey for CNN has found.

A mobile phone survey of 20,000 Africans from 11 nations, conducted by CNN in conjunction with crowd sourcing company Jana, also found that 86% thought an African pope would increase support for Catholicism in Africa.

Italy potentially wields the most power within the conclave, with 28 of the 115 votes, making it the largest bloc in the College of Cardinals. The United States is second with 11. Altogether, 48 countries are represented among the cardinal-electors.

“Many would say it’s all about politics at this point,” Monsignor Rick Hilgartner, head of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Secretariat on Divine Worship, told CNN, “but I think it’s important to remember that they also recognize that this is a very spiritual moment.”

Once the doors close and the conclave begins, he says, it’s less about politicking and “more about prayer as they each in silence write their votes.”

Sixty-seven of the cardinal-electors were appointed by Benedict, who stepped down at the end of last month, becoming the first pontiff to do so in six centuries.

CNN’s Dan Rivers and Richard Allen Greene reported from Rome, and Laura Smith-Spark wrote and reported in London. CNN’s Hada Messia, Ed Payne and Michael Pearson and journalist Livia Borghese also contributed to this report.