Black Smoke from Vatican Means No Decision on Pope

Black Smoke from Vatican Means No Decision on Pope

March 12, 2013 Updated Mar 12, 2013 at 3:52 PM EST

According to a report from NBC News, black smoke rose above the Sistine Chapel on Tuesday, signaling that 115 Roman Catholic cardinals failed to agree on a new pope during the first day of the papal conclave.

According to the NBC News report:

The "princes of the church" began deliberating inside the Vatican after swearing an oath of secrecy and entering the papal conclave at about 5 p.m. local time (12 p.m. ET).

The smoke was created by the burning of ballot papers used by the cardinals in their deciding vote, with chemical cartridges being added to ensure the smoke did not appear to be white — the sign that a decision has been reached. It means the conclave will reconvene on Wednesday morning.

None of the 115 cardinals will be seen or heard, nor will they have any contact with the outside world, until they have chosen a successor to Benedict XVI, who abdicated on Feb. 28.

"They're on their own now," said NBC News Vatican expert George Weigel, referring to the total isolation demanded by church rules.

Read the NBC News coverage HERE.




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