VATICAN CITY (CBS/KDKA) — The 115 Cardinals who will elect the next pope started their secret voting conclave Tuesday.
Black smoke came pouring from the chimney atop the Sistine Chapel around 7:40 p.m. their time, 1:40 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, signaling that the Cardinals did not choose a pope during their first vote and the process will continue Wednesday.
Earlier in the day, the Cardinals first gathered at the Vatican’s Pauline Chapel and then filed into the Sistine Chapel singing the Litany of Saints. It’s a chant asking the saints to help them choose a pope.
CBS’s Randall Pinkston Reports from Vatican City:
Then, they took an oath of secrecy and the master of ceremonies gave the command: “Extra Omnes!” – which in Latin means “everybody out” – and the doors to the Chapel were shut.
The Cardinals are now praying and voting in silence.
“The secrecy makes sure that what is happening there is between the Cardinals and Almighty God,” said Fr. Thomas Rosica, The Vatican’s spokesperson. “They have little pieces of paper on the table. In Latin, “I elect as Supreme Pontiff…” and they have to write the name, and they’re told to disguise their writing, too.”
Pittsburgh native Cardinal Donald Wuerl is among the Cardinals under the age of 80 participating in the conclave. Wuerl was born in Pittsburgh in 1940 and was named Bishop of Pittsburgh by Pope John Paul II in 1988.
Meanwhile, it’s not just whsmoke from the chimney that will announce if a new pope has been elected. Bells will ring. There is also a website offering to send text messages, but it was so flooded with requests, it had to stop taking them.
The first vote of the conclave is seen as a test vote because it’s a wide open field, and there is no clear front-runner for pope.
The cardinals celebrated Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica this morning. The Dean of the College of Cardinals urged them to put aside their differences as they elect a new leader.
CBS News’ Coverage:
They voted just once today, and will now vote up to four times a day until one cardinal receives at least 77 votes.
As night fell outside the Vatican, crowds gathered waiting for word on the vote. A group of young priests prayed under umbrellas. But a much larger crowd is expected when the new pope is introduced to the world.
Because of that, security has been beefed up in St. Peter’s Square where the hundreds of thousands of people will gather.