Vatican City

Black smoke again, no pope yet

Cardinals break for lunch, two more votes in afternoon

Black smoke again, no pope yet

(By Paul Virgo) Vatican City, March 13 - Black smoke gushed from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel on Wednesday, signalling that so far the second day of voting at the conclave has failed to produce a new pope. The cardinal-electors will return to the Vatican's Santa Marta hotel for lunch and then transfer back to the Sistine Chapel for afternoon voting that will begin at 16:30 local time. The cardinals vote four times a day, although smoke is only sent up a maximum of twice a day. Two more votes are slated to take place during Wednesday's afternoon session to elect Benedict XVI's successor. The cardinals, as expected, also failed to elect a successor to Benedict XVI in the single vote they held on the first day of the conclave, Tuesday. On Wednesday many in the crowd in St Peter's Square hoping to see the white smoke that signals a pontiff has been elected booed when they saw it was black. Some Americans shouted 'Non Habemus Papam' (We don't have a pope) - a play on the Latin announcement, 'Habemus Papam' (We have a pope), used to declare the election of a new pontiff. The smoke appeared around 20 minutes before its expected time of 12:00 local time. Some in the crowd saw the early smoke as a sign that the Wednesday morning votes had been quick and that the pre-conclave favourites, such as Italian Angelo Scola and Brazilian Odilo Scherer, were not making progress. But an Indian seminarian called Thomas, who is studying in Rome, said he was confident the cardinals were already close to settling on a new leader for the Catholic Church. "I'm sure that tonight we'll have the new pope," said Thomas, who was in the square with an Indian nun. "We don't have any preferences about the next pontiff. We accept anyone as long as he is a good pope". The Sistine chapel's chimney is expected to puff smoke again at around 19.00 Italian time, although it may be earlier in the case that the third vote of the day is conclusive. To be elected pope, a cardinal needs a two-thirds majority in the conclave - the votes of at least 77 of the 115 cardinal-electors. Benedict, 85, stepped down at the end of last month after announcing that he no longer had the mental and physical strength to lead the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.

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