More black smoke: Cardinals don’t agree on pope
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Cardinals remained divided over who should be pope on Wednesday after three rounds of voting, an indication that disagreements remain about the direction of the Catholic church following the upheaval unleashed by Pope Benedict XVI’s surprise resignation.
In the second day of the conclave, thick black smoke billowed from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel, prompting sighs of disappointment from the thousands of people gathered in a rain-soaked and chilly St. Peter’s Square.
“I’m not happy to see black smoke. We all want white,” said the Rev. ThankGod Okoroafor, a Nigerian priest studying theology at Holy Cross University in Rome. “But maybe it means that the cardinals need to take time, not to make a mistake in the choice.”
Cardinals voted twice Wednesday morning in the Vatican’s famed frescoed Sistine Chapel following an inaugural vote Tuesday to elect a successor to Benedict XVI, who stunned the Catholic world last month by becoming the first pope in 600 years to resign.
The cardinals broke for lunch at the Vatican hotel and planned another two rounds of voting Wednesday afternoon.
The drama — with stage sets by Michelangelo and an outcome that is anyone’s guess — is playing out against the backdrop of the church’s need both for a manager who can clean up an ungovernable Vatican bureaucracy and a pastor who can revive Catholicism in a time of growing secularism.
The difficulty in finding both attributes in one man, some analysts say, means that the world should brace for a long conclave — or at least one longer than the four ballots it took to elect Benedict in 2005.