VATICAN CITY, APRIL 18, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Black smoke came out of the chimney of the Sistine Chapel, indicating that the 115 cardinal electors had not elected a new pope on the first day of the conclave.
As night fell on Rome, a wave of exhilaration briefly ran through some of the thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square, as the first signs of smoke seemed to be white.
However, the bells of St. Peter’s Basilica were mute.
Ballots will resume Tuesday morning. At this point, the one to be elected requires two-thirds of the votes of the cardinal electors.
This afternoon, for the first time, television cameras recorded the cardinals’ oath at the start of the conclave and they heard the “extra omnes” (all out), with which the electors have shut themselves in the Sistine Chapel.
It was the master of pontifical liturgical celebrations, Archbishop Piero Marini, who was in charge of closing the doors of the enclosure in which the ballots are taking place for the election of the 264th successor of the Apostle Peter.
Archbishop Marini remained momentarily only during the meditation that was preached by Cardinal Tomas Spidlik, 85, “on the problems of the Church” and “the enlightened election of the new pontiff.”
TV cameras followed the procession of the 115 cardinal electors from the Apostolic Palace’s Hall of Blessings to the Sistine Chapel.