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Cardinals Continue Deliberations on Next Pope

For the second day, black smoke has emerged from a chimney atop the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel, signifying Roman Catholic Cardinals have not agreed on a new pope.

The 115 Cardinals are voting on a successor to Pope Benedict the XVI who resigned last month - the first pontiff to do so in 600 years. Benedict, who now has the title “Pope Emeritus,” is in the popes’ summer home in Castel Gandolfo outside Rome. He has pledged his “unconditional reverence and obedience” to whomever succeeds him to guide the 1.2-billion-member Roman Catholic Church.

A candidate must receive two-thirds of the votes, 77 ballots, to be elected pontiff.

A seagull rests on the chimney of the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican, March 13, 2013.

A seagull rests on the chimney of the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican, March 13, 2013.

Many experts say the cardinals are looking for an evangelizer, someone who could preach the gospel in a way that is understandable to people in the 21st century. Church historian Chris Bellitto, who teaches at Kean University in Union, New Jersey] said the cardinals are also discussing other qualifications.

“They are probably looking for someone with charisma, someone of course with the usual things: someone who is multilingual, who has some diplomatic experience, who is not necessarily a theologian but can handle theology very well," Bellitto said. "You are looking for a happy face, because it has been a dour time. You are going to look for somebody who has a strong record of dealing with not only priest pedophiles, but bishops who moved priest pedophiles around.”

Many experts say the cardinals will also decide whether it is time to elect a pontiff who is not European. Forty-two percent of the world’s Catholics are in South America and 24 percent live in Africa, where the church is growing.

Analysts say the cardinals are also looking for someone who is a manager and who could reform the Vatican bureaucracy - especially following the scandal involving the pope’s butler who stole documents, some revealing alleged corruption in the Vatican administration.
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    Andre de Nesnera

    Andre de Nesnera is senior analyst at the Voice of America, where he has reported on international affairs for more than three decades. Now serving in Washington D.C., he was previously senior European correspondent based in London, established VOA’s Geneva bureau in 1984 and in 1989 was the first VOA correspondent permanently accredited in the Soviet Union.

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