Vatican: The first fumata was black
Rome, March 12, 2013
The first vote in the Sistine Chapel to elect a new pope gave a black smoke, implying that there was no agreement.
The result was to be expected by those skilled in the art. The choice continues tomorrow, with two votes in the morning and two in the evening.
Despite the rain, a lot of people had gathered outside the Basilica of San Pedro, where a huge screen showed the chimney of the Sistine Chapel. After seeing the black smoke, the cries of disappointment were inevitable.
The 115 cardinals eligible to vote as having less than 80 years, met in the chapel behind closed doors for the first ballot just after 15.30 local time.
Dressed in their red faces and gown Cardinals, the “princes of the Church”, gathered for a prayer, after which they moved in procession to the Sistine Chapel.
The chapel was closed completely after the cry “Extra omnes” (all out!). Then they withdrew those outside the conclave and closed the doors of the chapel, standing alone, that the cardinals are sworn to silence about everything there is to say, with the majestic frescoes by Michelangelo.