Cardinals divided over who should be pope - WFLA News Channel 8

Cardinals divided over who should be pope

Posted: Updated:
VATICAN CITY (WFLA) -

Cardinals remained divided over who should be pope on Wednesday after three rounds of voting, an indication that disagreements remain about the direction of the Catholic Church following the upheaval unleashed by Pope Benedict XVI's surprise resignation.

In the second day of the conclave, thick black smoke billowed from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel, prompting sighs of disappointment from the thousands of people gathered in a rain-soaked and chilly St. Peter's Square.

"I'm not happy to see black smoke. We all want white," said the Rev. ThankGod Okoroafor, a Nigerian priest studying theology at Holy Cross University in Rome. "But maybe it means that the cardinals need to take time, not to make a mistake in the choice."

The Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi insisted that the continued balloting was part of the natural course of the election and didn't signal divisions among cardinals. He noted that only once in the past century had a pope been elected on the third ballot: Pope Pius XII, elected on the eve of World War II.

"This is very normal," he said. "It's not a sign of particular divisions within the college, but rather of a normal process of discernment."

A winner must receive 77 votes, or two-thirds of the 115, to be named pope.

That said, a conclave has rarely before taken place against the backdrop of a papal resignation and revelations of mismanagement, petty bickering, infighting and corruption in the Holy See bureaucracy. Those revelations, exposed by the leaks of papal documents last year, have divided the College of Cardinals into camps seeking a radical reform of the Holy See's governance and those defending the status quo.

After the third ballot, the cardinals broke for lunch at the Vatican hotel and were returning for another two rounds of voting Wednesday afternoon.

The drama - with stage sets by Michelangelo and an outcome that is anyone's guess - is playing out against the backdrop of the church's need both for a manager who can clean up an ungovernable Vatican bureaucracy and a pastor who can revive Catholicism in a time of growing secularism.

The difficulty in finding both attributes in one man, some analysts say, means that the world should brace for a long conclave - or at least one longer than the four ballots it took to elect Benedict in 2005.

"We have not had a conclave over five days since 1831," noted the Rev. Thomas Reese, author of "Inside the Vatican," a bible of sorts for understanding the Vatican bureaucracy. "So if they are in there over five days, we know they are in trouble; they are having a hard time forming consensus around a particular person."

The names mentioned most often as "papabile" - a cardinal who has the stuff of a pope - include Cardinal Angelo Scola, the archbishop of Milan, an intellect in the vein of Benedict but with a more outgoing personality, and Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the Canadian head of the Vatican's important bishops' office who is also scholarly but reserved like Benedict.

Brazilian Cardinal Odilo Scherer is liked by the Vatican bureaucracy but not by all of his countrymen. And Cardinal Peter Erdo of Hungary has the backing of European cardinals who have twice elected him as head of the European bishops' conference.

On the more pastoral side is Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston, the favorite of the Italian press, and Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the back-slapping, outgoing archbishop of New York who has admitted himself that his Italian is pretty bad - a drawback for a job that is conducted almost exclusively in the language.

The American candidates, however, did get a boost of sorts on Wednesday: President Barack Obama, who has clashed with American bishops over his health care mandate, indicated the Catholic Church could certainly tolerate a superpower pope since Catholic bishops in the U.S. "don't seem to be taking orders from me."

In an interview with ABC News, he said an American pope would preside just as effectively as a leader of the Catholic church from any other country.

Lombardi said it was a "good hypothesis" that the pope - whoever it is - would be installed next Tuesday, on the feast of St. Joseph, patron saint of the universal church. The installation Mass is attended by heads of state from around the world, requiring at least a few days' notice.

Thousands of people braved a chilly rain on Wednesday morning to watch the 6-foot- (2-meter-) high copper chimney on the chapel roof for the smoke signals telling them whether the cardinals had settled on a choice. Nuns recited the rosary, while children splashed in puddles.

After the smoke poured out, the crowds began to dissipate, though a few hangers-on appeared ready to wait out the afternoon balloting.

"The more we wait, the better chance we have of having a surprise," said Ludovic de Vernejouls, a 21-year-old Parisian studying architecture in Rome.

Unlike the confusion that reigned during the 2005 conclave, the smoke this time around has been clearly black - thanks to special smoke flares akin to those used in soccer matches or protests that were lit in the chapel ovens to make the burned ballots black.

The Vatican on Wednesday divulged the secret recipe used: potassium perchlorate, anthracene, which is a derivative of coal tar, and sulfur for the black smoke; potassium chlorate, lactose and a pine resin for the white smoke.

The chemicals are contained in five units of a cartridge that is placed inside the stove of the Sistine Chapel. When activated, the five blocks ignite one after another for about a minute apiece, creating the steady stream of smoke that accompanies the natural smoke from the burned ballot papers.

Despite the great plumes of smoke that poured out of the chimney, neither the Sistine frescoes nor the cardinals inside the chapel suffered any smoke damage, Lombardi said.

The cardinals were spending their free time inbetween votes sequestered in the Vatican's Santa Marta hotel, an impersonal modern hotel on the edge of the Vatican gardens. They have no access to television, newspapers, cellphones or computers, and the hotel staff has taken an oath of secrecy to not reveal anything they see or hear.

The actual vote takes place in far more evocative surroundings: the Sistine Chapel frescoed by Michelangelo in the 16th century with scenes of "Creation" and "The Last Judgment."

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Are background checks enough for Florida teachers?

    Are background checks enough for Florida teachers?

    Friday, April 18 2014 7:41 PM EDT2014-04-18 23:41:35 GMT

    In an effort to weed out potential perverts, Florida law requires fingerprinting and criminal background checks before school districts hire employees that will have any contact with children.

    In an effort to weed out potential perverts, Florida law requires fingerprinting and criminal background checks before school districts hire employees that will have any contact with children.


  • Pasco mix-up sends registration notices to wrong drivers

    Pasco mix-up sends registration notices to wrong drivers

    Friday, April 18 2014 6:02 PM EDT2014-04-18 22:02:51 GMT
    The vehicle registration information of hundreds of drivers in Pasco County were sent to the wrong person in a mix-up that led to the firing of a contractor.
    The vehicle registration information of hundreds of drivers in Pasco County were sent to the wrong person in a mix-up that led to the firing of a contractor.
  • Flushable wipes, not so flushable says Tampa's wastewater officials

    Flushable wipes, not so flushable says Tampa's wastewater officials

    Friday, April 18 2014 3:52 PM EDT2014-04-18 19:52:20 GMT
    Personal wipes, baby wipes, face wipes, flushable wipes. They are all designed to help us deal with delicate issues. But the wipes themselves are actually pretty sturdy and increasingly local water systems are finding they are creating costly problems.
    Personal wipes, baby wipes, face wipes, flushable wipes. They are all designed to help us deal with delicate issues. But the wipes themselves are actually pretty sturdy and increasingly local water systems are finding they are creating costly problems.
  • NewsMore>>

  • Polk County deputies searching for Winter Haven man

    Polk County deputies searching for Winter Haven man

    Saturday, April 19 2014 8:44 PM EDT2014-04-20 00:44:05 GMT
    Polk County sheriff's deputies are asking for the public's help to locate Travis "Pinky Barrientos of Winter Haven.Deputies said a warrant has been issued for Barrientos' arrest for attempted second degree murder. He is considered armed and dangerous.Early Saturday morning Barrientos and 32-year-old Juan Bautista got into an altercation on Rifle Range Road in Wahneta, a Polk County Sheriff's Office news release stated. Barrientos stabbed Bautista several times and threatened his life/Bautista...
    Polk County sheriff's deputies are asking for the public's help to locate Travis "Pinky Barrientos of Winter Haven.Deputies said a warrant has been issued for Barrientos' arrest for attempted second degree murder. He is considered armed and dangerous.Early Saturday morning Barrientos and 32-year-old Juan Bautista got into an altercation on Rifle Range Road in Wahneta, a Polk County Sheriff's Office news release stated. Barrientos stabbed Bautista several times and threatened his life/Bautista...
  • 10 more bodies found inside sunken ferry by divers

    10 more bodies found inside sunken ferry by divers

    Saturday, April 19 2014 8:42 PM EDT2014-04-20 00:42:24 GMT
    The captain of the ferry that sank off South Korea, leaving more than 300 missing or dead, was arrested early Saturday on suspicion of negligence and abandoning people in need. Two crew members also were taken into...
    Divers recovered 13 bodies from inside a ferry that sank off South Korea, pushing the confirmed death toll to 46, officials said Sunday. The discovery came after rescuers finally gained access to the inside of the ship...
  • Mrs. Obama to appear on May episode of 'Nashville'

    Mrs. Obama to appear on May episode of 'Nashville'

    Saturday, April 19 2014 7:22 PM EDT2014-04-19 23:22:39 GMT
    Michelle Obama is going a little bit country.
    Michelle Obama is going a little bit country.
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Arcadia dog set on fire improving, could be released early

    Arcadia dog set on fire improving, could be released early

    Tuesday, April 1 2014 11:26 PM EDT2014-04-02 03:26:55 GMT
    "Hope" was doused with kerosene and set on fire. BluePearl Veterinary photo"Hope" was doused with kerosene and set on fire. BluePearl Veterinary photo
    A 1-year-old DeSoto County dog that was set on fire is improving and could be released from 24-hour care to a primary care veterinarian next week.
    A 1-year-old DeSoto County dog that was set on fire is improving and could be released from 24-hour care to a primary care veterinarian next week.
  • Restaurant Ratings: Most Violations April 7-13

    Restaurant Ratings: Most Violations April 7-13

    Saturday, April 19 2014 6:47 AM EDT2014-04-19 10:47:28 GMT
    We’ve gathered details about the Tampa Bay restaurants that received the most violations during inspections conducted from April 7 to 13, 2014.
    We’ve gathered details about the Tampa Bay restaurants that received the most violations during inspections conducted from April 7 to 13, 2014.
  • Gainesville authorities investigate arrest of UF football player

    Gainesville authorities investigate arrest of UF football player

    Saturday, April 19 2014 11:55 AM EDT2014-04-19 15:55:51 GMT
    Authorities in Gainesville say Purifoy was arrested last month on drug-related charges. Authorities in Gainesville say Purifoy was arrested last month on drug-related charges.
    The Gainesville Police Department has launched an internal investigation into the quashing of an arrest warrant for a former University of Florida football star and current NFL draft prospect.The Gainesville Sun reports that Loucheiz Purifoy was allegedly caught by the Alachua County Sheriff's Office last month in possession of both marijuana and bath salts.
    The Gainesville Police Department has launched an internal investigation into the quashing of an arrest warrant for a former University of Florida football star and current NFL draft prospect.The Gainesville Sun reports that Loucheiz Purifoy was allegedly caught by the Alachua County Sheriff's Office last month in possession of both marijuana and bath salts.
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.