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Black smoke on first day leaves faithful waiting for decision on new pope

AFP/Getty Images - This handout picture released by the Vatican Press Office on March 12, 2013, shows cardinals following a grand mass at the St Peter's basilica before the start of a papal election conclave on March 12, 2013, at the Vatican.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AFP/Getty Images</em></div>This handout picture released by the Vatican Press Office on March 12, 2013, shows cardinals following a grand mass at the St Peter's basilica before the start of a papal election conclave on March 12, 2013, at the Vatican.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review - People gather in St. Peter's Square on Tuesday evening as they watch for smoke from the small chimney atop the Sistine Chapel to signal the outcome of the first vote of the College of Cardinals during the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Justin Merriman  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>People gather in St. Peter's Square on Tuesday evening as they watch for smoke from the small chimney atop the Sistine Chapel to signal the outcome of the first vote of the College of Cardinals during the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review - A pilgrims kneels in the rain in St. Peter's Square as the College of Cardinal's hold mass at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican on Tuesday. The mass led of the first day of the conclave where cardinals will vote to choose Pope Benedict XVI’s successor.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Justin Merriman  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>A pilgrims kneels in the rain in St. Peter's Square as the College of Cardinal's hold mass at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican on Tuesday. The mass led of the first day of the conclave where cardinals will vote to choose Pope Benedict XVI’s successor.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review - A Cardinal enters St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican on Tuesday for the College of Cardinal's pre-conclave mass prior to their voting to choose Pope Benedict XVI’s successor.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Justin Merriman  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>A Cardinal enters St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican on Tuesday for the College of Cardinal's  pre-conclave mass prior to their voting to choose Pope Benedict XVI’s successor.
Getty Images - Cardinals gather in the Sistine Chapel for the Conclave on March 12, 2013 in Vatican City, Vatican.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Getty Images</em></div>Cardinals gather in the Sistine Chapel for the Conclave on March 12, 2013 in Vatican City, Vatican.
Getty Images - Black smoke billows from the chimney on the roof of the Sistine Chapel indicating that the College of Cardinals have failed to elect a new Pope on March 12, 2013, in Vatican City, Vatican.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Getty Images</em></div>Black smoke billows from the chimney on the roof of the Sistine Chapel indicating that the College of Cardinals have failed to elect a new Pope on March 12, 2013, in Vatican City, Vatican.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review - Black smoke billows out of the chimney atop the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican on Tuesday evening, March 12, 2013, indicating that the first vote by the conclave to elect a new pope was inconclusive. The 115 cardinals will return Wednesday morning to resume voting. The new pope must receive a two-thirds majority, or 77 votes to become the 266th pontiff.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Justin Merriman  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Black smoke billows out of the chimney atop the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican on Tuesday evening, March 12, 2013, indicating that the first vote by the conclave to elect a new pope was inconclusive.  The 115 cardinals will return Wednesday morning to resume voting. The new pope must receive a two-thirds majority, or 77 votes to become the 266th pontiff.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review - People watch as black smoke billows out of the chimney atop the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican on Tuesday evening, March 12, 2013, indicating that the first vote by the conclave to elect a new pope was inconclusive. The 115 cardinals will return Wednesday morning to resume voting. The new pope must receive a two-thirds majority, or 77 votes to become the 266th pontiff.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Justin Merriman  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>People watch as black smoke billows out of the chimney atop the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican on Tuesday evening, March 12, 2013, indicating that the first vote by the conclave to elect a new pope was inconclusive.  The 115 cardinals will return Wednesday morning to resume voting. The new pope must receive a two-thirds majority, or 77 votes to become the 266th pontiff.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review - A statue in front of St. Peter's Square is illuminated in the light on Tuesday evening, March 12, 2013, as many gather to watch for smoke from the small chimney atop the Sistine Chapel to signal the outcome of the first vote of the College of Cardinals during the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Justin Merriman  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>A statue in front of St. Peter's Square is illuminated in the light on Tuesday evening, March 12, 2013, as many gather to watch for smoke from the small chimney atop the Sistine Chapel to signal the outcome of the first vote of the College of Cardinals during the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review - People gather in St. Peter's Square on Tuesday evening, March 12, 2013, as they watch for smoke from the small chimney atop the Sistine Chapel to signal the outcome of the first vote of the College of Cardinals during the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Justin Merriman  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>People gather in St. Peter's Square on Tuesday evening, March 12, 2013, as they watch for smoke from the small chimney atop the Sistine Chapel to signal the outcome of the first vote of the College of Cardinals during the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review - People gather in St. Peter's Square on Tuesday evening, March 12, 2013, as they watch for smoke from the small chimney atop the Sistine Chapel to signal the outcome of the first vote of the College of Cardinals during the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Justin Merriman  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>People gather in St. Peter's Square on Tuesday evening, March 12, 2013, as they watch for smoke from the small chimney atop the Sistine Chapel to signal the outcome of the first vote of the College of Cardinals during the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review - A man watches for smoke from the Sistine Chapel to signal the outcome of the first vote of the College of Cardinals during the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI on Tuesday March 12, 2013.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Justin Merriman  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>A man watches for smoke from the Sistine Chapel to signal the outcome of the first vote of the College of Cardinals during the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI on Tuesday March 12, 2013.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review - People gather in St. Peter's Square on Tuesday evening, March 12, 2013, as they watch for smoke from the small chimney atop the Sistine Chapel to signal the outcome of the first vote of the College of Cardinals during the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Justin Merriman  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>People gather in St. Peter's Square on Tuesday evening, March 12, 2013, as they watch for smoke from the small chimney atop the Sistine Chapel to signal the outcome of the first vote of the College of Cardinals during the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review - A woman waits in St. Peter's Square on Tuesday evening, March 12, 2013, as tens of thousands gather to watch for smoke from the small chimney atop the Sistine Chapel to signal the outcome of the first vote of the College of Cardinals during the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Justin Merriman  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>A woman waits in St. Peter's Square on Tuesday evening, March 12, 2013, as tens of thousands gather to watch for smoke from the small chimney atop the Sistine Chapel to signal the outcome of the first vote of the College of Cardinals during the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review - A priest watches in St. Peter's Square on Tuesday evening, March 12, 2013, as many gather to await the smoke from the small chimney atop the Sistine Chapel to signal the outcome of the first vote of the College of Cardinals during the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Justin Merriman  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>A priest watches in St. Peter's Square on Tuesday evening, March 12, 2013, as many gather to await the smoke from the small chimney atop the Sistine Chapel to signal the outcome of the first vote of the College of Cardinals during the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review - People gather in St. Peter's Square on Tuesday evening, March 12, 2013, as they watch for smoke from the small chimney atop the Sistine Chapel to signal the outcome of the first vote of the College of Cardinals during the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Justin Merriman  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>People gather in St. Peter's Square on Tuesday evening, March 12, 2013, as they watch for smoke from the small chimney atop the Sistine Chapel to signal the outcome of the first vote of the College of Cardinals during the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review - The black smoke is shown on a big screen billowing out of the chimney atop the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican on Tuesday evening, March 12, 2013, indicating that the first vote by the conclave to elect a new pope was inconclusive. The 115 cardinals will return Wednesday morning to resume voting. The new pope must receive a two-thirds majority, or 77 votes to become the 266th pontiff.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Justin Merriman  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>The black smoke is shown on a big screen billowing out of the chimney atop the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican on Tuesday evening, March 12, 2013, indicating that the first vote by the conclave to elect a new pope was inconclusive.  The 115 cardinals will return Wednesday morning to resume voting. The new pope must receive a two-thirds majority, or 77 votes to become the 266th pontiff.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review - A man watches the College of Cardinal's pre-conclave Mass in St. Peter's Square on Tuesday, March 12, 2013, the first day of the conclave.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Justin Merriman  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>A man watches the College of Cardinal's pre-conclave Mass in St. Peter's Square on Tuesday, March 12, 2013, the first day of the conclave.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review - A pilgrim kneels in the rain in St. Peter's Square as the College of Cardinal's hold Mass at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican on Tuesday, March 12, 2013.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Justin Merriman  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>A pilgrim kneels in the rain in St. Peter's Square as the College of Cardinal's hold Mass at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican on Tuesday, March 12, 2013.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review - Tourists and pilgrims stand in St. Peter's Square in the Vatican on Tuesday, March 12, 2013, as rain begins to fall on the first day of the conclave, where the College of Cardinals will vote for the first time to choose Pope Benedict XVI’s successor.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Justin Merriman  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Tourists and pilgrims stand in St. Peter's Square in the Vatican on Tuesday, March 12, 2013, as rain begins to fall on the first day of the conclave, where the College of Cardinals will vote for the first time to choose Pope Benedict XVI’s successor.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review - Tourists and pilgrims stand in St. Peter's Square in the Vatican on Tuesday, March 12, 2013, as rain begins to fall on the first day of the conclave, where the College of Cardinals will vote for the first time to choose Pope Benedict XVI’s successor.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Justin Merriman  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Tourists and pilgrims stand in St. Peter's Square in the Vatican on Tuesday, March 12, 2013, as rain begins to fall on the first day of the conclave, where the College of Cardinals will vote for the first time to choose Pope Benedict XVI’s successor.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review - A nun watches a big screen in front of St. Peter's Basilica that broadcasts the College of Cardinal's pre-conclave mass at the Vatican on Tuesday, March 12, 2013.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Justin Merriman  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>A nun watches a big screen in front of St. Peter's Basilica that broadcasts the College of Cardinal's pre-conclave mass at the Vatican on Tuesday, March 12, 2013.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review - A pilgrims kneels in the rain in St. Peter's Square as the College of Cardinal's hold Mass at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican on Tuesday, March 12, 2013.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Justin Merriman  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>A pilgrims kneels in the rain in St. Peter's Square as the College of Cardinal's hold Mass at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican on Tuesday, March 12, 2013.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review - A barefoot pilgrim kneels in the rain in St. Peter's Square as the College of Cardinal's hold Mass at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican on Tuesday, March 12, 2013. The Mass led off the first day of the conclave where cardinals will vote to choose Pope Benedict XVI’s successor.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Justin Merriman  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>A barefoot pilgrim kneels in the rain in St. Peter's Square as the College of Cardinal's hold Mass at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican on Tuesday, March 12, 2013. The Mass led off the first day of the conclave where cardinals will vote to choose Pope Benedict XVI’s successor.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review - Pilgrims watch the College of Cardinal's Mass at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, on a big screen in the square. The mass led off the first day of the conclave where cardinals will vote to choose Pope Benedict XVI’s successor.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Justin Merriman  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Pilgrims watch the College of Cardinal's Mass at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, on a big screen in the square. The mass led off the first day of the conclave where cardinals will vote to choose Pope Benedict XVI’s successor.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review - Pilgrims watch the College of Cardinal's Mass at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, on a big screen in the square. The Mass led off the first day of the conclave where cardinals will vote to choose Pope Benedict XVI’s successor.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Justin Merriman  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Pilgrims watch the College of Cardinal's Mass at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, on a big screen in the square. The Mass led off the first day of the conclave where cardinals will vote to choose Pope Benedict XVI’s successor.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review - Pilgrims watch the College of Cardinal's Mass at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, on a big screen in the square. The Mass led off the first day of the conclave where cardinals will vote to choose Pope Benedict XVI’s successor.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Justin Merriman  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Pilgrims watch the College of Cardinal's Mass at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, on a big screen in the square. The Mass led off the first day of the conclave where cardinals will vote to choose Pope Benedict XVI’s successor.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review - Pilgrims watch the College of Cardinal's Mass at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, on a big screen in the square. The Mass on March 12, 2013, led of the first day of the conclave where cardinals will vote to choose Pope Benedict XVI’s successor.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Justin Merriman  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Pilgrims watch the College of Cardinal's Mass at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, on a big screen in the square. The Mass on March 12, 2013, led of the first day of the conclave where cardinals will vote to choose Pope Benedict XVI’s successor.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review - A pilgrims watches the College of Cardinal's Mass at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, on a big screen in the square.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Justin Merriman  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>A pilgrims watches the College of Cardinal's Mass at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, on a big screen in the square.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review - A woman prays in St. Peter's Square in the Vatican on Tuesday, March 12, 2013, as the College of Cardinals hold a pre-conclave Mass inside the basilica as they prepare to vote to choose Pope Benedict XVI’s successor.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Justin Merriman  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>A woman prays in St. Peter's Square in the Vatican on Tuesday, March 12, 2013, as the College of Cardinals hold a pre-conclave Mass inside the basilica as they prepare to vote to choose Pope Benedict XVI’s successor.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review - A man stands in St. Peter's Square in the Vatican on Tuesday, March 12, 2013, as rain begins to fall on pilgrims and tourists who gathered in the square on the first day of the conclave, where the College of Cardinals will vote for the first time to choose Pope Benedict XVI’s successor.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Justin Merriman  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>A man stands in St. Peter's Square in the Vatican on Tuesday, March 12, 2013, as rain begins to fall on pilgrims and tourists who gathered in the square on the first day of the conclave, where the College of Cardinals will vote for the first time to choose Pope Benedict XVI’s successor.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review - A guard stands watch in one of the entrances to St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican on Tuesday, March 12, 2013, as the College of Cardinals hold their pre-conclave Mass prior to voting to choose Pope Benedict XVI’s successor on the first day of the conclave.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Justin Merriman  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>A guard stands watch in one of the entrances to St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican on Tuesday, March 12, 2013, as the College of Cardinals hold their pre-conclave Mass prior to voting to choose Pope Benedict XVI’s successor on the first day of the conclave.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review - A nun stands in prayer in St. Peter's Square in the Vatican on Tuesday, March 12, 2013, as the College of Cardinals hold a pre-conclave Mass inside the basilica as they prepare to vote to choose Pope Benedict XVI’s successor.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Justin Merriman  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>A nun stands in prayer in St. Peter's Square in the Vatican on Tuesday, March 12, 2013, as the College of Cardinals hold a pre-conclave Mass inside the basilica as they prepare to vote to choose Pope Benedict XVI’s successor.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review - A couple embraces in St. Peter's Square in the Vatican on Tuesday, March 12, 2013, as the College of Cardinals hold a pre-conclave Mass inside the basilica as they prepare to vote to choose Pope Benedict XVI’s successor.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Justin Merriman  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>A couple embraces in St. Peter's Square in the Vatican on Tuesday, March 12, 2013, as the College of Cardinals hold a pre-conclave Mass inside the basilica as they prepare to vote to choose Pope Benedict XVI’s successor.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review - A nun holds rosary beads as she stands in prayer in St. Peter's Square in the Vatican on Tuesday, March 12, 2013, as the College of Cardinals hold a pre-conclave Mass inside the basilica as they prepare to vote to choose Pope Benedict XVI’s successor.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Justin Merriman  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>A nun holds rosary beads as she stands in prayer in St. Peter's Square in the Vatican on Tuesday, March 12, 2013, as the College of Cardinals hold a pre-conclave Mass inside the basilica as they prepare to vote to choose Pope Benedict XVI’s successor.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review - A guard stands watch in one of the entrances to St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican on Tuesday, March 12, 2013, as the College of Cardinals hold their pre-conclave Mass prior to voting to choose Pope Benedict XVI’s successor on the first day of the conclave.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Justin Merriman  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>A guard stands watch in one of the entrances to St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican on Tuesday, March 12, 2013, as the College of Cardinals hold their pre-conclave Mass prior to voting to choose Pope Benedict XVI’s successor on the first day of the conclave.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review - Guards stand watch at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican on Tuesday, March 12, 2013, as the College of Cardinals hold a pre-conclave Mass prior to voting to choose Pope Benedict XVI’s successor.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Justin Merriman  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Guards stand watch at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican on Tuesday, March 12, 2013, as the College of Cardinals hold a pre-conclave Mass prior to voting to choose Pope Benedict XVI’s successor.

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Tuesday, March 12, 2013, 8:15 p.m.
 

VATICAN CITY — A chilly rain alternating between hail and drizzle didn't dampen Sister Mercy McDunnough's spirits.

She was excited and moved, she said, to stand with other blue-and-gray habited nuns in St. Peter's Square, awaiting the election of a pope by Roman Catholic cardinals inside the Sistine Chapel.

“We're ready for the Holy Father to come,” said the 45-year-old nun of the Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of the Matara order.

But as night fell and excitement rose among the square's growing crowd, black smoke poured from the chapel's rust-colored chimney — indicating that the cardinals had not reached a consensus on their first vote.

“Oh, that's too bad,” whispered Sister Mercy.

Few of the Catholic faithful who gathered here on Tuesday expected a decision on the first day of the cardinals' conclave. Yet many said they came anyway, to be part of something larger than themselves.

The day began with a Mass for the 115 cardinals voting on a successor to Benedict XVI, the first pope to resign in six centuries. Afterward, the cardinals filed into the Sistine Chapel to begin their sequestered discussions and secret balloting — a process that has changed only a little since 1059.

Outside, Catholics stood for hours under darkened skies, praying and waiting for news of the church's 266th pontiff.

One man, barefoot and wearing a hooded burlap sackcloth, knelt on the wet cobblestones as rain poured down.

Sister Mercy and other Servants of the Lord nuns sang hymns. Another group held aloft a black-and-white sign proclaiming “Faithful to the Pope” in Italian.

By nightfall, the lit-up square filled with an international mix of lay people and religious figures in the dress of their orders.

Four large television screens projected images of the small chimney atop the Sistine Chapel.

Conversations flowed in different languages — English, Italian, German, Spanish, Arabic and others.

“For me to be here at the conclave, it's a big grace,” said Sister Providence Schneider, also of the Servants of the Lord. “The Holy Spirit is working within the Church, and it's really exciting.”

She and Sister Mercy were among three dozen nuns bused an hour to the square from the monastery where they live. “We are praying for whatever is God's will,” she said.

Earlier, on a hill across the city that overlooked the Vatican, young Catholics of the Women's Ordination Conference lit a pink smoke flare in protest.

Eric Siaz Hanna, 32, the group's executive director, dismissed the conclave as a “celebration of patriarchy” and objected to the church's “ban on women from all leadership and decision-making positions.”

Founded in 1975, the organization wants women to serve as deacons, priests and bishops; it claims to represent 63 percent of U.S. Catholics who support the ordination of women.

“We grew up after the second wave of feminism, and we were told we could be anybody we wanted to be,” said Hanna. “And we want a place in our church.”

Betsy Hiel is the Tribune-Review's foreign correspondent. Email her at bhiel@tribweb.com.

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