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Tuesday, April 19, 2005

New Pope: Ratzinger...Benedict XVI

White Smoke, Bells Signal Selection of New Pope

White smoke begins pouring from the Sistine Chapel chimney shortly before 6 p.m.

VATICAN CITY (CNN) -- White smoke rose from a Sistine Chapel chimney and bells rang Tuesday, signaling the selection of a new pope.

Thousands of people in St. Peter's Square clapped and waved flags as the smoke billowed over Vatican City.

Suspense built as the throng waited for the symbolic ringing of bells, at which point the crowd broke into a roar of jubilation.

The 115 cardinals' morning ballots were burned at about 11:50 a.m. (5:50 a.m. EDT).

After each pair of votes, the ballots were burned in a stove at the Sistine Chapel, with the white smoke in the evening announcing to observers outside that a pope has been elected.

Black smoke had come from the chimney after the two morning votes.

Chemicals are added to the ballots to turn the smoke white or black.

The cardinals taking part in the conclave to elect a successor to Pope John Paul II began their first full day of voting after holding Mass in their living quarters at 7:30 a.m.

Locked away in the Sistine Chapel, the cardinals let it be known that no candidate won their first vote Monday evening, hours after a historic religious ceremony watched around the world.

As black smoke billowed Monday from a chimney atop the Sistine Chapel, the crowd of thousands outside cheered. (Full story)

"It was very exciting," said Richard Wall, an American in the crowd. "We had some drama tonight."

At first, the smoke's color appeared gray, and some thought it may have been white. But it quickly turned black. Also, John Paul II had decreed that white smoke be accompanied by the ringing of bells, to avoid a repeat of the confusion after his election in 1978.

Monday evening's smoke was emitted shortly after 8 p.m., about 2 1/2 hours after the chapel's doors were closed, marking the beginning of the conclave.

The closing of those large wooden doors ended an hour-long ritual that the Vatican televised live for the first time ever.

Oath of secrecy
Clad in crimson robes, shoulder capes and hats, the 115 cardinals from 52 countries walked from the Hall of Blessings into the Sistine Chapel as "The Litany of Saints" was sung.

Once the cardinals were inside, a choir and the cardinals themselves sang the invocation of the Holy Spirit, "Veni, Creator Spiritus."

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, dean of the College of Cardinals and considered a leading candidate for pope, recited a prayer and a message that included these words: "After having celebrated the divine mysteries, we now enter into conclave to elect the Roman pontiff, the whole church united with us in prayer."

Ratzinger led the group in an oath of secrecy, and each cardinal individually stepped up to a Book of Gospels, placed his hand on it and took another similar oath.

The cardinals also vowed to follow the rules listed by Pope John Paul II in the "Apostolic Constitution Universi Dominici Gregis," which laid out specific steps for the electoral process, including seclusion "in suitable places" within the Vatican and the use of secret ballots.

At the end, the master of the Pontifical Liturgical Celebration said "extra omnes" -- meaning "everyone out" -- signaling those not participating in the conclave to leave the Sistine Chapel. He then closed the doors, and the televised broadcast came to an end.

The cardinals then had a private meditation and one of them gave a speech before the ballots were handed out.

If the Vatican's plans succeed, there will be no indication of how the deliberations proceed, or who may be surfacing as leading "papabile," or candidates, before a new pontiff is selected.

The term conclave means "with a key" -- meaning the process takes place behind lock and key.

To win, a candidate needs two-thirds of the votes. If three days pass with no pope chosen, the cardinals will take a day of reflection and prayer before resuming balloting. And, under rules established by John Paul II, if no one has the required two-thirds majority after about 12 days, the cardinals can switch to a simple majority.

Speculation rife
There has been a great deal of speculation about who may be chosen to succeed John Paul II, who died April 2 at the age of 84, but cardinals have been mum.

Some taking part in the conclave said they are looking for a leader who presents a hopeful vision, who can "generate some dynamism and some optimism within Catholicism," CNN Vatican analyst John Allen said.

The first clues to the process of finding a successor were sought during the homily or sermon delivered by Ratzinger at Monday's public Mass.

"Having a clear faith, based on the creed of the church, is often labeled today as a fundamentalism," Ratzinger said.

Allen said Ratzinger delivered a "very blunt" message for the church to "stay true to itself."

That was a strong indication that Ratzinger, 78, wants a "traditionalist" elected the next pope, Allen said.

John Paul was widely credited with extending the reach of the papacy. He spoke more than a dozen languages and set an unprecedented pattern of pastoral travel, drawing huge crowds all over the world.

He was also strictly traditional on issues of sexuality and the role of women in the church, which won him support among some Catholics but alienated others. Similar disagreement exists over the next pontiff's stances on issues such as birth control, stem cell research and the ordination of female priests.

The conclave will select the man who will be the 265th pontiff, although he will be the 263rd person to hold the post. One man, Benedict IX, served as pontiff three separate times nearly a millennium ago.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005 Posted: 12:13 PM EDT (1613 GMT


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