Thursday, 14 March 2013

Habemas Papam


I was just about to turn in for the night - having written an email or two - when I heard cheering.

So I flipped back to the tab which I had opened on BBC's "smoke-stack cam" - and there was smoke coming out of a chimney.  Not any chimney of course - but the one on top of the Sistine Chapel  It was night so what colour was it?  White or black?  Were the searchlights colouring it white?  Then the bells began to chime.  The smoke was white.  The thousands in St. Peter's square were cheering - which was the sound that I had heard.

Two days earlier we had watched as some of the 115 cardinals had made oaths of secrecy.  Then everyone was ordered out.  The servants and attendents filed out - as did other priests - leaving behind the red-robed cardinals to choose one of them to be the next pope.  The next leader of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics.

With the closing of the door - the focus was on the chimney.   4 times smoke billowed out - each time black - signalling that the 2/3rds plus one majority was not achieved to select one of their number to be the next pope.