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

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book 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.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs