Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Conclave begins - March 12 2013

Locked in the Sistine Chapel

"EXTRA OMNES!!!" "Everybody out!!!"

And with that announcement from the Papal Master of Ceremonies, the cardinals have been locked within the Sistine Chapel in conclave. The word "conclave" means "with key".

On voting ...

There are two votes in the morning session. Two in the afternoon session. The burning of ballots happens twice a day ... once at the end of each session.

If no "winner arises" … smoke will emerge from the chimney at the end of the morning session - about 12 p.m. Rome time (6 a.m. CST) - and again at the end of the afternoon session - about 7 p.m. Rome time (1 p.m. CST). They’ll burn two sets of ballots each time.

But if the earlier vote in a session -- morning 10:30 a.m. Rome time (4:30 a.m. CST) or evening 5:30 p.m. Rome time (11:30 a.m. CST) --- yields a pope, white smoke would emerge at that time, ending the conclave.

So … the latest we will see smoke is 1 p.m. CST. The earliest could be 4:30 a.m. CST.

Should cardinals decide to begin with votes today, we would see smoke around 1 p.m. CST. It is assumed that no one will have enough votes to be elected pontiff in the first vote so we should see black smoke then.