White smoke rises; Catholic church has new Pope

Cardinals elected a new pope to lead the world's 1.2 billion Catholics on Wednesday, overcoming deep divisions to select the 266th pontiff in a remarkably fast conclave.
Associated Press
Mar 13, 2013



Tens of thousands of people who braved cold rain to watch the smokestack atop the Sistine Chapel jumped in joy when white smoke poured out, many shouting "Habemus Papam!" or "We have a pope!" — as the bells of St. Peter's Basilica and churches across Rome pealed.

The pope, whose identity isn't yet known, is due to emerge from the loggia overlooking St. Peter's Square to deliver his first words as the bishop of Rome. The lag time was giving Romans plenty of time to get to St. Peter's and a steady stream of pilgrims and tourists were making their way.

Chants of "Long live the pope!" rose from the throngs of faithful, many with tears in their eyes. Crowds went wild as the Vatican appeared on the square, blaring music, followed by Swiss Guards in silver helmets and full regalia. At least 50,000 people jammed into the square.

"I can't explain how happy I am right down," said Ben Canete, a 32-year-old Filipino, jumping up and down in excitement.

Elected on the fifth ballot, the pope was chosen in one of the fastest conclaves in years, remarkable given there was no clear front-runner going into the vote and that the church had been in turmoil following the upheaval unleashed by Pope Benedict XVI's surprise resignation.

A winner must receive 77 votes, or two-thirds of the 115, to be named pope.

For comparison's sake, Benedict was elected on the fourth ballot in 2005 — but he was the clear front-runner going into the vote. Pope John Paul II was elected on the eighth ballot in 1978 to become the first non-Italian pope in 455 years.

The conclave played out against the backdrop of the first papal resignation in 600 years and revelations of mismanagement, petty bickering, infighting and corruption in the Holy See bureaucracy. Those revelations, exposed by the leaks of papal documents last year, had divided the College of Cardinals into camps seeking a radical reform of the Holy See's governance and those defending the status quo.

The names mentioned most often as "papabile" — a cardinal who has the stuff of a pope — included Cardinal Angelo Scola, the archbishop of Milan, an intellect in the vein of Benedict but with a more outgoing personality, and Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the Canadian head of the Vatican's important bishops' office who is also scholarly but reserved like Benedict.

Brazilian Cardinal Odilo Scherer is liked by the Vatican bureaucracy but not by all of his countrymen. And Cardinal Peter Erdo of Hungary has the backing of European cardinals who have twice elected him as head of the European bishops' conference.

On the more pastoral side is Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston, the favorite of the Italian press, and Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the back-slapping, outgoing archbishop of New York who has admitted himself that his Italian is pretty bad — a drawback for a job that is conducted almost exclusively in the language.

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi said it was a "good hypothesis" that the pope would be installed next Tuesday, on the feast of St. Joseph, patron saint of the universal church. The installation Mass is attended by heads of state from around the world, requiring at least a few days' notice.

Benedict would not attend, he said.

Thousands of people braved a chilly rain on Wednesday morning to watch the 6-foot- (2-meter-) high copper chimney on the chapel roof for the smoke signals telling them whether the cardinals had settled on a choice. Nuns recited the rosary, while children splashed in puddles.

Unlike the confusion that reigned during the 2005 conclave, the smoke this time around was clear: black during the first two sets of smoke signals, and then clearly white on Wednesday night — thanks to special smoke flares akin to those used in soccer matches or protests that were lit in the chapel ovens to accompany the smoke from the burned ballot papers.

The Vatican on Wednesday divulged the secret recipe used: potassium perchlorate, anthracene, which is a derivative of coal tar, and sulfur for the black smoke; potassium chlorate, lactose and a pine resin for the white smoke.

The chemicals were contained in five units of a cartridge that is placed inside the stove of the Sistine Chapel. When activated, the five blocks ignite one after another for about a minute apiece, creating the steady stream of smoke that accompanies the natural smoke from the burned ballot papers.

Despite the great plumes of smoke that poured out of the chimney, neither the Sistine frescoes nor the cardinals inside the chapel suffered any smoke damage, Lombardi said.


Talkings hit

As a tribute to Pope John Paul, the newest pope will take the name Pope George Ringo.


I heard its Dennis Rodman!

Talkings hit

It's only logical that Chris Hansen from Dateline NBC gets the first interview with the new pope, right?

Talkings hit

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Off-topic comments.


I am a Baptist, married a Catholic girl. We respect all religions, but you people who had comments ahead of me, well, the bad luck will begin. Let us know how it goes, if you still have two hands.

Talkings hit

The priest that molested me still has two hands, so I think your god will allow me to crack a few jokes.


Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Remarks that discriminate based on age, race, religion, disability, etc..

Erie Countian

Great....another old guy. Now we'll have to endure all this malarkey again in a few years.


How bad was it to watch smoke come out of a chimney? What exactly did you endure with this? ANd who says Malarkey? What are you a hundred?

Erie Countian

No, I'm not 100, richardross, but you must be...you used the word "midget". The proper term is "little people". I was referring to enduring the media overload of all this.


Geez, I thought they were smokin briscuit!


The guy even has a sense of humor.

Since he's Argentinian, he said that his brother cardinals went to the ends of the Earth to find a Pope.

IMO, The Church made a good political move and chose a Pope from a growth area.

swiss cheese kat's picture
swiss cheese kat

Argentina is where all the Nazi's went after the war.


Also Brazil and the U.S. with von Braun.


A fresh start, but whats his track record on child abuse by the church? Rich,wealthy clergy? gayrights? poverty? a lot on his plate, to guide the flock, he has to rid it of the wolves.


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I care. Anyone who devotes their life to service to those less fortunate, and is a great reformer, is exactly what the Catholic church needs. Your insults are endless and disgusting.


The catholic church is disgusting. The cover ups they did are very admirable. Sound good?


Wherever the human element exists, the propensity to commit evil acts also exists. That doesn't change the teachings of the church. Believe or don't believe whatever you want. Not everyone thinks as you do; thankfully. Sound good?


Did the church teach the bishops to cover up the sexual abuse against children or did they come up with that all on their own?


the church just moved the abusers to different churches where people wouldn't recognize them. the church helped with the cover ups.


My point exactly. The catholic church is disgusting.


perkins. some persons have very definite opinions however you seem obsessed on the topic possibly you may consider receiving some counseling.

If the Catholic Church is so wrong maybe the person that founded the church may have done a poor job.


Maybe you need some counseling for going to a church that covers up pedophelia.


I am not obsessed about anything. I do not judge the way other persons live, their religion or political ideals I have enough to do to take care of my own life


So you don't judge an organization that covers up pedophiles? Great person you are!


I have no way of knowing exactly what is in this Pope's mind maybe he will be OK maybe not but I will give him a fair chance to see what he does.

I did not vote for Obama however my family was aganist him but I did tell them to give the guy a fair chance and he may possibly do a good job.

I do have feelings about certain things that happen however I do not pre judge


All hail the new King of the Catholics! Organized religion failed me long ago. Including this one that I was raised on.


So they elected a new pope... These religitards sure do need to be guided around like sheep. The whole idea of religion is a joke. The pope who had just recently retired shielded countless pedophile priests and instead of punishing them for their crimes he shifted them around different churches. How billions of idiots follow such a corrupt organazation is beyond me. It is unfathomable and complete idoicy to follow in the footsteps of such corruption, religious people do not lack a leader they lack a moral compass. These so called "leaders" such as the pope and such, do nothing but abuse their powers and hoard money. I'll end this off with one of my favorite quotes.

"Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful"