Papal election: Waiting for the white smoke

Cardinals gathered at the Vatican from around the world are heading into second day of the Papal Conclave to elect a new Pope.

Zeenews Bureau

Vatican City: It`s disappointment once again for those waiting to witness white smoke billow out of the Sistine Chapel chimney.

In the first round on the second day of voting to elect a new Pope, the College of Cardinals failed to elect a Pontiff and black smoke emerged from the chimney.

On the first day as well, black smoke had billowed from the chimney.

115 cardinals from around the globe, donning scarlet robes have converged in Vatican`s Sistine Chapel to elect a new pope after Pope Benedict XVI`s surprise resignation on Feb 28.

The first round of voting started Tuesday afternoon when cardinals locked themselves into the Sistine Chapel following a final appeal for unity by their dean and set about the business of electing the 266th pope.

With the chimney`s black smoke signalling that no cardinal had won the required 77 votes on the first ballot, the cardinals returned to the Vatican`s Santa Marta hotel for a simple dinner of pasta with tomato sauce, soup and vegetables before another day of voting Wednesday.

The cardinals attended Apostolic Palace for Mass this morning and then began a first round of voting.

How is a Pope Elected?»

It will be the first full day of voting with cardinals voting four times, twice during the morning and twice during the evening.

The result of voting will be clear by the colour of the smoke that comes out of the chimney of the Sistine Chapel. A black puff of smoke would indicate that no pope has been chosen yet, a white puff on the other hand would mean that the pope has been elected.

The conclave is taking place amid more upheaval and uncertainty than the church has seen in decades: There`s no front-runner, no indication how long voting will last and no sense that a single man has what it takes to be pope.

The leading contenders for pope have fallen into two camps, with Italian Cardinal Angelo Scola, the archbishop of Milan, seen as favored by those hoping to shake up the powerful Vatican bureaucracy, and Brazilian Cardinal Odilo Scherer favored by Vatican-based insiders who have defended the status quo.

Other names include Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, who heads the Vatican`s powerful office for bishops and U.S. cardinals Timothy Dolan, the exuberant archbishop of New York, and Sean O`Malley, the archbishop of Boston.

Benedict`s surprise resignation has thrown the church into turmoil and exposed deep divisions between Vatican-based cardinals and those in the field who have complained about Rome`s inefficiencies and indifference to their needs.

In a final appeal before the conclave began, the dean of the College of Cardinals, retired Cardinal Angelo Sodano, used his homily at a morning Mass in St Peter`s Basilica to urge unity. He asked that cardinals put their differences aside for the good of the church and the future pope.

With Agency inputs

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