The election of a new Pope was signaled
on March 13, 2013 at 7:07 PM (6:07 pm UTC) by white smoke rising from
the chimney above the Sistine Chapel. From an article by
Tom Wright-Piersanti, The Star-Ledger:
White smoke is billowing from the chimney at the Sistine Chapel, a
signal that a conclave of Roman Catholic cardinals gathered at the
Vatican have selected a new leader for the 1.2 billion-member church.
The newly elected pope, chosen by his peers after two days of highly
secretive deliberation, will not be identified until his name is
announced to the waiting crowd in St. Peter's Square.
UPDATE: Name of new pope announced
The crowd gathered in Vatican City roared when white smoke rose from the
small chimney around 7:07 p.m. local time (2:07 p.m. Eastern time). The
bells of St. Peter's Basilica rang out a minute later, confirming that
the next pontiff had been chosen.
On Tuesday, 115 cardinals from 48 countries sequestered themselves away
in the centuries-old cathedral adorned with Michelangelo's renowned
frescoes. The pontiff they picked needed a two-thirds majority vote, or
During their time in the conclave, the cardinals were completely shut
off from the outside world, spending their days in the chapel and their
nights in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, a Vatican residence with 105
two-room suites and 26 single rooms.
Telephones, internet, radio, television and newspapers are all banned
during the process, and the Religion News Service reported that both
locations have been surrounded with signal-jamming devices to ensure
The papacy opened unexpectedly on Feb. 11 when Pope Benedict XVI, who
led the church since 2005, announced his retirement. Benedict was the
first pope to resign on his own accord in nearly 600 years.
The end of Benedict's reign was embroiled in turmoil. Benedict's
personal butler was convicted of stealing confidential papal documents
and leaking them to an Italian journalist. In the fallout, the
international media reported on alleged corruption that cost the Vatican
millions, as well as stories of blackmail, sex and corruption taking
place among high-ranking church officials.
The 266th pope will take the reins of a church facing a volume of
challenges in the changing world. Though membership boosts in Africa and
South America have helped to buoy population numbers, congregations in
America and Europe continue to dwindle.
The GCP event was set for a six hour period beginning at 6:07 UTC.
Several people suggested this should be a GCP event and some thought it
should start with the introduction and announcement of Pope Francis.
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