White Smoke: There's a new Pope! - FOX 32 News Chicago

White Smoke: There's a new Pope!

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VATICAN CITY - White smoke is pouring out from the Sistine Chapel chimney in St. Peter's Square, signaling that a new pope will appear on the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica within the hour before many faithful waiting to witness the first new pontiff in eight years.

The ballots are tied together with needle and thread and are then placed in an iron stove. If the smoke coming out of the chimney is white -- not black -- it means there's a pope.
 
The signal hasn't always been so clear. In 1958, damp straw didn't catch fire, and the smoke was white instead of black. After John Paul's death in 2005, the Vatican used special chemicals in an effort to make the color clear -- with only limited success.
 
If in doubt, the bells of St. Peter's Basilica also ring when a new pope has been chosen.

One thing is sure -- the new pope will never truly know who voted for him.
 
Cardinals used to sign their names to ballots, but stopped doing so "due to an old history of intrigues and tensions, when people used to fear the most serious reprisals for their choices," says Michael Bruter, who teaches political science at the London School of Economics.
 
Even so, factions of cardinals will have made their views known during informal talks between votes.
 
Romain Lachat, a political scientist at Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, says the formation of coalitions -- where voting cardinals slowly rally around a man who may only be their second or third choice -- is inevitable.
 
There is no formal process of elimination and cardinals can even vote for themselves -- which may explain why conclaves often need more than one round of balloting to produce a pope.

UPDATE: 

Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio elected pope -- first pontiff from Americas. He has chosen the name Pope Francis.

Looking stunned, Francis shyly waved to the crowd of tens of thousands of people who gathered in St. Peter's Square, marveling that the cardinals needed to look to "the end of the earth" to find a bishop of Rome.

Pope Francis -- the first Jesuit pope -- has spent nearly his entire career at home in Argentina.

The former Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, reportedly got the second-most votes after Joseph Ratzinger, the last pope, in the 2005 papal election. He has long specialized in the kind of pastoral work -- overseeing churches and priests -- that some say is an essential skill for a pope.
 
In a lifetime of teaching and leading priests in Latin America, which has the largest share of the world's Catholics, the former Bergoglio has shown a keen political sensibility as well as a self-effacing humility, according to his official biographer, Sergio Rubin.  His personal style is the antithesis of Vatican splendor.
 
Bergoglio is also known for modernizing an Argentine church that had been among the most conservative in Latin America.

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