Thursday, March 7, 2013

Conclave notes - part 1

The urns where the voting ballots will be deposited

It is now apparently certain that the Conclave will start within a few days. All the cardinals electors are now in Rome, and in anticipation for this historic event, I share with you some important notes relating to the conclave. When the Cardinals go up to vote, they write the name of the Cardinal they prefer and then place the ballot in a receptacle or urn, and cover it with the lid. The container used to be a large ciborium, but since 1978, these urns are being used, one of which is smaller to collect the ballots of those Cardinals who are infirm and cannot be at the Sistine chapel. The ballots are then counted and the names announced, waiting for anyone to get a two-thirds majority. 
The two adjacent stoves where the ballots and chemicals will be burned
When the ballots are inconclusive, they are strung together and placed in an oven. In an adjacent stove some chemicals are burned and they create the black smoke, until of course a Pope has been chosen, at which time, a different kind of chemical is added to create the white smoke. Then both the smoke from the ballots as well as the smoke from the added chemical will mix and out of the chimney the smoke is released, black or white. Since there are two votings in the morning and two in the afternoon, the two combined ballot papers are burned together, at noon Rome time, and again at 7 PM Rome time. This would be respectively at 4 AM and 11 AM USA Pacific time. If a decision is reached after the first voting, the white smoke will appear a little earlier. The new Pope will be announced approximately an hour later with the famous words “Annuntio Vobis Gaudium Magnum - Habemus Papam!”

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