VATICAN CITY, APRIL 15, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The Vatican has installed the chimney on the roof of the Sistine Chapel which will announce the election of the next pope to the world.
Vatican spokesman Joaquín Navarro Valls said today that tests will be carried out with yellow smoke to ensure its proper functioning.
In the October conclave in 1978, gray smoke was emitted, causing confusion among the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square. White smoke signals the election of a pope.
The lenses of photographers and television cameramen focused on the three workmen who climbed onto the roof of the Sistine Chapel today, supported by security cables, to install the chimney, which has not been used for 26 years.
The stove in which the slips of paper of the final ballots will be burned was placed on the left side of the entrance of the Sistine Chapel earlier in the week.
Two effusions of smoke are planned every day while the conclave is in session: one at the end of the morning around midday, after the two morning votes, and another in the early evening, around 7 p.m., after the two afternoon votes.
If the smoke from the chimney is black, it will mean that the 115 cardinal electors have not yet decided on a new pontiff.
In the past, the Vatican used wet hay to color the smoke; today, chemical products are used.
To avoid confusion, the bells of St. Peter’s Basilica will ring out when a pope is selected, said Archbishop Piero Marini, master of the liturgical celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff. The Vicariate of Rome announced that the bells of all the churches in Rome will also ring.
Shortly after, the proto-deacon, Cardinal Jorge Medina Estévez, will announce from the balcony of benedictions, on the facade of St. Peter’s Basilica: “Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum: habemus papam” — I announce to you news of great joy. We have a pope!