Today we’re anxiously awaiting the selection of the new pope on just the second day of the papal conclave.
While the cardinals didn’t reach a decision on a new pope this morning, there are two more votes to come, and we could really see a new pope later today.
If you’re not that excited, you should watch this Fox News video of the 2005 announcement of “Habemus Papam!” (“We Have a Pope!”) and check out the pure hysteria of the crowds.
There’s a little more to add to the 2005 story. The crowd couldn’t see whether the smoke from the Sistine Chapel was white (meaning pope) or black (no decision made yet), and had to anxiously wait for confirmation.
In the new book “The Vatican Diaries” by John Thavies, Thavies describes the cardinals inside the chapel fretting over the smoke. “I don’t think they practiced this. They should have practiced this,” Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles was said to have remarked. Others suggested different ways of burning the ballots to make the white smoke.
Besides the smoke, there was another problem — phone jamming devices inside the chapel, designed to maintain secrecy during the conclave, meant that no-one could tell those supposed to be manning the bells at St Peter’s Basilica to start ringing and officially let the world know a pope had been chosen. Eventually they had to run and find a land line.
As such, the crowd in the Vatican square waited for an excruciating 10 minutes for the bells to be rung, and to truly know that “Habemus Papam!” Let’s hope there’s not a repeat of that this time.
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