Vatican City, Mar 13, 2013 / 05:33 am (CNA/EWTN News).- At 11:38 a.m. local time on March 13, black smoke rose from the Sistine Chapel’s chimney, indicating that the cardinals gathered at the Vatican have not yet reached an agreement on the next Pope.
Voting began on the evening of March 12, yielding an initial inconclusive vote marked by black smoke at 7:43 p.m. local time.
Tow more rounds of voting will be held in the afternoon, with a smoke signal expected between 7:00p.m. and 8:00p.m.
As a general rule four rounds of voting and two smoke signals will take place each day, until a Pope is chosen. The exception to that rule occurs when a Pope is selected on either the morning of the afternoon’s first ballot. In that case, the smoke will be seen around10:30 a.m. or 5:30 p.m.
This conclave seems to proceeding quickly with the votes, usually sending up smoke signals on the earlier side of the expected time window.
When 77 of the 115 cardinal electors – two-thirds – give their vote to one candidate agreement, white smoke will be sent up from the chimney and the bells of St. Peter’s will toll, signaling that a new Holy Father has been chosen.
The cardinals will spend time in prayer each day of the conclave, asking the Holy Spirit to lead them in the process of electing the new Pontiff.
If there is no Pope by Friday night, the cardinals will rest on Saturday and voting will resume again on Sunday.