VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Despite the rain, thousands of people filled St. Peter's Square after dark March 12, the first evening of the conclave, to witness the black smoke that signaled the Catholic Church's 115 cardinal electors had failed, as expected, to elect a pope on the first ballot.
The smoke started billowing out of the chimney on the Sistine Chapel at 7:41 p.m.
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Invoking the aid of the Holy Spirit and the holy men and women from all over the world recognized as saints, 115 cardinals processed slowly into the Sistine Chapel to begin the process to elect a pope.
Once in the chapel, the cardinals from 48 countries vowed that, if elected pope, they would faithfully fulfill the ministry of universal pastor of the church and would defend the rights and freedom of the Holy See.
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A respected Italian journal said Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, a 76-year-old Jesuit, was the cardinal with the second-highest number of votes on each of the four ballots in the 2005 conclave.
The journal, Limes, said its report was based on information that came from the diary of an anonymous cardinal who, while acknowledging he was violating his oath of secrecy, felt the results of the conclave votes should be part of the historic record.
The journal said it confirmed the diary's count with other cardinals.
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The 115 cardinals participating in the conclave will know the identity of the new pope before the rest of the world, but their advance knowledge is likely to last for well over an hour, and even more in the unlikely event that the candidate they choose is not in the Sistine Chapel with them.
The last time cardinals in a conclave did not choose one of their members was in 1378 when they voted for the archbishop of Bari, Italy, who became Pope Urban VI.
VATICAN CITY -- Hours before the start of the conclave that will choose the next pope, the dean of the College of Cardinals celebrated the papacy as a source of unity among Catholics and of evangelization and charitable service to the world.
Christ "has established his apostles and among them Peter, who takes the lead, as the visible foundation of the unity of the church," Cardinal Angelo Sodano said in his homily at St. Peter's Basilica March 12. "Each of us is therefore called to cooperate with the successor of Peter, the visible foundation of such an ecclesial unity."