News / Europe

Chimney Raised on Sistine Chapel as Conclave Nears

Media films the stove at the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican, March 9, 2013.
Media films the stove at the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican, March 9, 2013.
Reuters
Vatican workers hoisted a chimney onto the roof of the Sistine Chapel on Saturday in readiness for the conclave of Roman Catholic cardinals that will elect a successor to Pope Benedict.

The conclave begins on Tuesday, with the sequestered cardinals using the chimney to tell the outside world whether or not they have chosen a new leader - black smoke signifying no decision and white smoke announcing a new pontiff.
    
The rust-coloured pipe was attached above the terracotta tiles of the roof of the frescoed chapel clearly visible from the nearby St. Peter's Square, where traditionally thousands of believers gather to see how the secret balloting is progressing.
    
Although no clear favorites have emerged to take the helm of the troubled 1.2-billion-member Church, the conclave is expected to be wrapped up within just a few days.
    
No conclave has lasted than more than five days in the past century, with many finishing within two or three days. Pope Benedict was elected within barely 24 hours in 2005 after just four rounds of voting.
    
Benedict triggered the election last month with his shock decision to abdicate because of his increasingly frail health - the first pontiff to step down in six centuries.

He leaves his successor a sea of troubles - including seemingly never-ending sex abuse scandals, rivalry and strife inside the Vatican bureaucracy, a shortage of priests and a rise of secularism in its European strongholds.
    
Inside the chapel, workmen were carrying out the final preparations to make the room, one of the most famous in the world, ready for the conclave.
    
Two stoves were installed and attached to a single flue leading up to the roof. One, made of cast iron and used in every conclave since 1939, will be used to burn ballots.
    
The second stove is an electronic one with a key, a red start button and seven tiny temperature indicator lights. Flares will be electronically ignited inside it to send out either white or black smoke.
    
Workmen on Saturday were also putting the finishing touches to specially built rows of tables where the cardinals will sit facing each under the gaze of Jesus in Michelangelo's massive Last Judgment panel on the wall behind the altar.
    
Possible pontiffs

Nearly 150 red-hatted cardinals held a sixth day of preliminary meetings, known as "general congregations,'' on Saturday to discuss the many challenges besieging their Church and to sketch the ideal profile of the next pope.
    
Some 115 of their number - all those aged under 80 - will enter the Sistine Chapel on Tuesday to start the formal voting process. One ballot will be held on the first day, with four votes a day thereafter until one of their number receives a two-thirds majority, or 77 votes.
    
The names of several possible front runners have been mentioned by church officials ever since Benedict's resignation.
    
Amongst the most mentioned are Italy's Angelo Scola, Brazil's Odilo Pedro Scherer and Canada's Marc Ouellet. U.S. cardinals such as Timothy Dolan or Sean O'Malley have also been cited as "papabile.''
    
With the vast majority of Catholics now living outside Europe, there is growing pressure for a pontiff from another part of the world.

Many Vatican observers believe a Latin American, Asian or African pope could bring attention to the poverty of the southern hemisphere in the same way the Polish-born John Paul put a spotlight on the East-West divide.

"I think it is important to have someone who comes from a place where the Church is dynamic and lively,'' South Africa Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier told La Stampa newspaper in an interview published on Saturday.

"I believe the choice of candidates will be much longer than it was in 2005,'' added Napier, who has himself been tipped in some quarters as a possible pontiff.

You May Like

Photogallery Strong Words Start, May End, S. African Xenophobic Attacks

President Jacob Zuma publicly condemned rise in attacks on foreign nationals but critics say leadership has been less than welcoming to foreign residents More

Video Family Waits to Hear Charges Against Reporter Jailed in Iran

Reports in Iran say Jason Rezaian has been charged with espionage, but brother tells VOA indictment has not been made public More

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Action to Stabilize Libya

Amnesty International says multinational concerted humanitarian effort must be enacted to address crisis; decrepit boats continue to bring thousands of new arrivals daily More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Allan from: AZ
March 09, 2013 9:06 PM
Just look at them all, professionals with super professional equipment taking pictures of a stove. Quite amazing!

by: Phaerisee
March 09, 2013 7:37 PM
We have to be careful about electing someone
associated with a particular society or prelature if there is a chancethat scandal is looming in their future. Obviously The Legion of Christscandal with the founder being guilty of fathering a child in secret,or the Opus Dei scandal involving the mafia and the little kidnappedgirl, Emanuela Orlandi. As a Church we owe it to our future to pick a Pope outside of the inner circle. Humble, simple and Holy

by: NVO from: USA
March 09, 2013 2:50 PM
Peter the Roman............we await you.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs