Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Obligatory “Vatican Smoke Cam”

Now it begins. The honorary clergy of Rome (aka The Sacred College of Cardinals) are now sequestered in the Sistine Chapel, to choose one of their number as Bishop of Rome. By virtue of this title, he becomes the Supreme Pontiff, the Successor to Peter, the Pope.

No, it's not the other way around.

We all know the drill. If the ballots do not determine a sufficient majority for election, the ballots are burned with wet straw, and the smoke from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel is black. Should they result in a sufficient number for election, the ballots are burned dry, and white smoke will appear, and the whole world goes bananas. (In recent years, they add special chemicals to make sure the black smoke is really black and the white smoke is really white. Apparently there were shades of gray in the past. We can't have shades of gray for something as ... uh, black and white as this, can we? Anyway, to continue ...)

Then some guy (the Dean of the Cardinals or the senior Cardinal Deacon, I don't remember) comes out on the balcony overlooking the Piazza, and announces the name of the new Pope. If you know your Latin well enough, you will know by the reading of the man's first name who the new Pope will be, several seconds before the plebian non-Latinists among you.

Me, I'll probably be at my day job, but for the rest of you who lead relatively empty lives (or waste your fifteen minutes of fame making a job out of this), here's the continuous streaming web coverage of the chimney atop the Sistine Chapel. After one day, they've had black smoke, and a chance to weed out the bottom-feeders among the papabile.  

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