Video: Vatican Dispatch, Day 2; Update: Slide show added

posted at 12:31 pm on March 9, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

(VATICAN CITY) Today’s Vatican Dispatch has a unique start to it.  As I hinted in my Green Room post earlier, the Vatican press office decided to allow more journalists than previously considered to tour the nearly-complete additions to the Sistine Chapel for the papal conclave, including the stove system that will send out either black smoke for a vote that fails to select a Pope, or the white smoke that the pilgrims from around the world are already gathering to see.  I got in with one of the last groups to be allowed into the Sistine Chapel, and even worked in the start of the show before being asked (nicely) to stop.  Afterward, I picked up again outside of St. Peter’s Basilica:

More than one in our group had attached microphones and started narrating into video cameras, but all of us were asked to stop and just shoot the video.  No one had mentioned that prohibition beforehand, but as I say in the video, it’s a reasonable request made nicely, so I’m happy to get what I got.  The noise in the background came from the conversations taking place among the media as well as from workers trying to finish off the last of the work before Tuesday.

By the way, the abrupt end of this video was due to a technical error on my part while I was shooting it, not any kind of issue with officials.

In other news, the press conference gave some interesting tidbits about the ongoing congregation of cardinals.  This is more or less verbatim from my notes:

  • 145 cardinals were present today; 15 spoke “gave their interventions” last night (gave a speech), and 17 this morning.  Overall, 133 interventions have taken place (some have spoken twice) on topics including “improving the performance of the Curia,” the Church in the world, and expectations of the new Pope.
  • The hours of smoke — Smoke does not appear after each ballot.  Should be one around noon, and the other in the evening around 7 pm.  If it’s white, it will be between 10:3-11:30 or 5-6 pm. The bells of St Peter’s Square will ring when a new Pope has been elected.  The new Pope will appear in about 45 minutes after the smoke and the bells.  “This is not like a Swiss watch.  A little suspense is good for all of us.”
  • The procession of cardinals into the conclave begins at 4:30 in the afternoon of the 12th, from the Pauline Chapel to the Sistine Chapel.  The rest is in a handout in the media center.  It will last for one hour; when the doors close, the camera will be cut off, and the shot will probably track to St. Peter’s Square.

A couple of days ago, the media was told that cardinals would not be available for public comment, which caused quite a stir.  Today, the press office said that the cardinals had not been silenced, and they may use their time tomorrow to address the peoples of their nations in conjunction with the celebration of Mass in their titular churches.  Each cardinal has an assigned church in Rome, and when they visit the city, they often celebrate Mass in these churches.

Not much activity will take place tomorrow, so I will not have a dispatch.  Instead, I’ll bring you interviews with George Weigel and Chris Ferrara, and break other news if it happens.

Update: I don’t want anyone to miss out on the beauty of the Sistine Chapel.  I’ve uploaded them to Flickr and have them arranged in a slide show:

The stairs are works of art in themselves. The entire place is simply breathtaking.


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I see you didn’t make the mistake of wearing shorts Ed. ; )

Bmore on March 9, 2013 at 12:34 PM

1. Is there any backroom lobbying?

2. Where are all the Cardinals staying in the Vatican?

3. Historically, on average how many days does it take to come to a decision?

4. You got a photo of the urns?

Blake on March 9, 2013 at 12:36 PM

You’re fortunate. On the two occasions I’ve visited the Sistine Chapel guards have repeatedly told tourists not to take photos.

Drained Brain on March 9, 2013 at 12:36 PM

Nice. Should have shot the ceiling. Get to the Vatican museums if you can.

Ted Torgerson on March 9, 2013 at 12:39 PM

5. You mentioned security. So, who’s packing heat?

6. Who’s working with you?

Blake on March 9, 2013 at 12:40 PM

Excellent! HA going global.

Today Ed in Rome, next month Erika in Shanghai!

DarkCurrent on March 9, 2013 at 12:40 PM

…looking good Ed!

KOOLAID2 on March 9, 2013 at 12:45 PM

Hey! I know that guy in that chapel place!!

Amendment X on March 9, 2013 at 12:47 PM

1. Is there any backroom lobbying?

2. Where are all the Cardinals staying in the Vatican?

3. Historically, on average how many days does it take to come to a decision?

4. You got a photo of the urns?

Blake on March 9, 2013 at 12:36 PM

Oh, I thought you asked if there was BACONroom lobbying.
OK, move along.

Amendment X on March 9, 2013 at 12:49 PM

2. Where are all the Cardinals staying in the Vatican?

Blake on March 9, 2013 at 12:36 PM

The Domus Sanctae Marthae(Latin for Saint Martha’s House)

fourdeucer on March 9, 2013 at 12:51 PM

Can you filibuster process Ed?

hillsoftx on March 9, 2013 at 12:52 PM

Excellent photoshop job by BMore.

Ed really looks like he is at the Vatican. He really does.

SparkPlug on March 9, 2013 at 12:53 PM

@ Blake:

#1: I’m sure there is, but the Cardinals are very good at not talking about it.

#2: The Domus Sanctae Marthae

#5: The Gendarmerie of Vatican City. The Swiss Guard is for the personal protection of the Pope.

CaptainNed on March 9, 2013 at 12:54 PM

2. Where are all the Cardinals staying in the Vatican?

Blake on March 9, 2013 at 12:36 PM

Before the conclave starts, all the voting cardinals will have to move into a building in the Vatican called Domus Sanctae Marthae (St. Martha’s House). It was built in the 1990s as a residence for guests of the Vatican, and when Pope John Paul II updated the rules for electing a pope, he prescribed that the voting cardinals should reside there during the vote.

During the pre-conclave process, they are staying at various locations. I believe that the American cardinals are staying at the Pontifical North American College, which would suggest that most other cardinals are likely staying at the pontifical colleges corresponding to their nationalities, although I haven’t seen that written anywhere.

J.S.K. on March 9, 2013 at 12:58 PM

That’s so cool, Ed.

Weight of Glory on March 9, 2013 at 12:59 PM

Who does Ed think will win the Pope bowl? An Italian?

Flapjackmaka on March 9, 2013 at 1:00 PM

Ed did you get permission to take that picture in the Sistine. Because if I remember right no photos were allowed and I am telling!

melle1228 on March 9, 2013 at 1:02 PM

360p video…Someone get Ed an HD camera stat!

:)

Cheers Ed! One day I really hope to get to see the Vatican in person.

JetBoy on March 9, 2013 at 1:04 PM

Excellent photoshop job by BMore.

Ed really looks like he is at the Vatican. He really does.

SparkPlug on March 9, 2013 at 12:53 PM

…naaaaah!…Bmore would have had him wearing a little red hat. (:->)

KOOLAID2 on March 9, 2013 at 1:06 PM

Thanks for the update, Ed. It’s obvious you are really enjoying this assignment. Although I’m not Catholic, it is gratifying to get the update from a devout Catholic, who understands the inner workings of the church. I find this all fascinating.

Enjoy the great food while you are in Rome. I’m guessing you’ll gain weight over the next week or so, even though you are walking from your hotel to Vatican City. :) Try the veal, don’t forget to tip your waitress. :)

simkeith on March 9, 2013 at 1:10 PM

To answer a couple of the questions —

1. I am working by myself — I was using a tripod and hoped I had framed the shot correctly. In both cases, it seemed to go well.

2. I’ve been in the Sistine Chapel a couple of times as a tourist, and I’ve always been allowed to take pictures and video. They don’t want people using flashes, and in general don’t want tourists talking through their visit.

3. In this case, though, the entire point was to allow the media to take photos and video. They just didn’t want us to do narrations while in there, and that’s cool, and they weren’t mean about it when they asked me to stop.

4. If you want me to handicap the conclave, just remember I picked the Steelers to win it all last year.

Ed Morrissey on March 9, 2013 at 1:11 PM

360p video…Someone get Ed an HD camera stat!

:)

Cheers Ed! One day I really hope to get to see the Vatican in person.

JetBoy on March 9, 2013 at 1:04 PM

I am shooting this in HD, but the YouTube upload is an issue on hotel and press-office wifi.

And definitely, this is a trip worth making.

Ed Morrissey on March 9, 2013 at 1:12 PM

Ed did you get permission to take that picture in the Sistine. Because if I remember right no photos were allowed and I am telling!

melle1228 on March 9, 2013 at 1:02 PM

You piqued my curiosity about photos in the Sistine Chapel…and I learned something new. Apparently the reason for prohibiting pics there is that SONY and/or some other Japanese companies funded the Chapel’s last restoration, and retain rights to any photos inside.

JetBoy on March 9, 2013 at 1:13 PM

Super cool. The chapel is gorgeous.

Thanks for the updates Ed. 1000x better than the MSM.

gophergirl on March 9, 2013 at 1:13 PM

I’m really glad HA is covering this. I’m not Catholic, or religious at all. But if I were ever to convert to a religion, I would convert to Catholicism. It is vital. We have been losing ground since even before the wall-collapsing of the Byzantine Empire. We need a new Crusades. Only this time, we win.

WhatSlushfund on March 9, 2013 at 1:18 PM

Hotair isn’t sponsored by the Catholic church, is it?

rickv404 on March 9, 2013 at 1:19 PM

Enjoy the great food while you are in Rome. I’m guessing you’ll gain weight over the next week or so, even though you are walking from your hotel to Vatican City. :) Try the veal, don’t forget to tip your waitress. :)

simkeith on March 9, 2013 at 1:10 PM

I actually lost five pounds the last time I was here despite eating everything in sight. All the walking really does take it out of you.

Ed Morrissey on March 9, 2013 at 1:19 PM

I am shooting this in HD, but the YouTube upload is an issue on hotel and press-office wifi.

Didn’t even think about that.

Maybe I missed it, but will anyone be taking your usual place reporting from CPAC?

I’m still wondering why Benedict would resign during the most somber and holy month in all Christianity. I also assume Easter weekend is a busy time for tourists coming in…and that hotel accommodations are booked well in advance for it…which is another reason for the cardinals to make haste choosing the new pope. If there are still media and other tourists in Rome covering conclave when Easter weekend arrives, it would be a mess.

JetBoy on March 9, 2013 at 1:36 PM

pretty….

nice job Ed

cmsinaz on March 9, 2013 at 1:37 PM

kind of surprised the lights were on that bright….when we visited, the lights were very dim and no photography permitted due to the preservation of the artwork, along with the no talking…..

cmsinaz on March 9, 2013 at 2:25 PM

cmsinaz on March 9, 2013 at 2:25 PM

When we were visiting Vatican City many years ago, we picked the wrong day of the week — the Sistine Chapel was closed. :( We were only able to be in Rome for about 5 days, so we didn’t get another chance the following week.

But we did get to see Michaelangelo’s “Pieta,” which at that time (mid-90s) was not behind glass.

PatriotGal2257 on March 9, 2013 at 2:56 PM

Ed: nice fresco on the ceiling behind you… I saw it before they restored it…

Khun Joe on March 9, 2013 at 3:12 PM

Very interesting. The panel across the width of the Sistine Chapel reminds me of the royal doors in the layout of an Orthodox church. What are their purpose here?

unclesmrgol on March 9, 2013 at 3:19 PM

Ed: nice fresco on the ceiling behind you… I saw it before they restored it…

Khun Joe on March 9, 2013 at 3:12 PM

When I saw how vibrant it is, I immediately thought of the restoration work….

unclesmrgol on March 9, 2013 at 3:20 PM

Hotair isn’t sponsored by the Catholic church, is it?

rickv404 on March 9, 2013 at 1:19 PM

You will have to adjust to the fact that Ed is a Catholic, as am I and many others who comment here. You are a guest in this house, so to speak, and it’s not mannerly to comment on the furnishings in one of the rooms. If you don’t like the furnishings in this one, Ed’s house has many rooms….

unclesmrgol on March 9, 2013 at 3:22 PM

You piqued my curiosity about photos in the Sistine Chapel…and I learned something new. Apparently the reason for prohibiting pics there is that SONY and/or some other Japanese companies funded the Chapel’s last restoration, and retain rights to any photos inside.

JetBoy on March 9, 2013 at 1:13 PM

That is really interesting. I went in 2003, so Ed may be right about the flash. I do remember that I wanted the Genesis scene on the ceiling so badly (the one where god is touching man) that I had my husband sneak photoing it for me.

I am not Catholic or even religious, but the Sistine Chapel is the closest to God outside my children’s birth that I have felt and seen. That and the Pieta are some of the most beautiful pieces of art I have ever seen.

melle1228 on March 9, 2013 at 3:25 PM

Hotair isn’t sponsored by the Catholic church, is it?

rickv404 on March 9, 2013 at 1:19 PM

No, but based on the pictures I’ve seen, the Vatican tourism bureau should throw a few euros Ed’s way.

JimLennon on March 9, 2013 at 3:28 PM

When we were visiting Vatican City many years ago, we picked the wrong day of the week — the Sistine Chapel was closed. :( We were only able to be in Rome for about 5 days, so we didn’t get another chance the following week.

But we did get to see Michaelangelo’s “Pieta,” which at that time (mid-90s) was not behind glass.

PatriotGal2257 on March 9, 2013 at 2:56 PM

I am sorry to hear that. We actually went so that we could see the Pope come out to bless in the square. My son wanted to see the actual Pope, so we made the trip on the specific day(I want to say it was Wednesday), but then we got there and found out he was in his summer home for six weeks.

melle1228 on March 9, 2013 at 3:28 PM

Good travels and travails, Ed.

The BBC’s take

Schadenfreude on March 9, 2013 at 4:06 PM

If you want me to handicap the conclave, just remember I picked the Steelers to win it all last year.

Ed Morrissey on March 9, 2013 at 1:11 PM

So, you not so good at the Church of Monday Night Football…

I’m betting most of the Cardinals are soccer players.

trigon on March 9, 2013 at 4:31 PM

Wow! Absolutely astounded that you’ve had no issues using photography or video in the Sistine Chapel. I’ve been there at least four or five times (once in ’78, before the restoration began) and each time we’ve seen others get kindly asked to stop recording and to put their cameras away. In fact, I’m pretty sure that there are pictograms which indicate no photography permitted.

We usually have a wonderful time sitting on the outer bench seats – and watching the expressions on people’s faces as they enter and look up. When you’re done looking up, you should look down… the floor is pretty amazing too! And to think of the history of that room – it blows me away every time.

Enjoy! And thanks for whetting my appetite again!

Hill60 on March 9, 2013 at 4:48 PM

Ed, what kind of camera are you using on the photos in the flickr stream?

rightside on March 9, 2013 at 5:19 PM

Ok, let me get this straight, Ed. You put on your game head….errr I mean face for the visit to the Sistine Chapel? LOL

Seriously, it has been many years since I’ve been inside the chapel, and the frescos had gotten dull and dirty. The restoration is gorgeous. Thanks for sharing the photos with us.

So which member of the Steelers do you have in your Sweet Sistine brackets as the odds on favorite to be elected pope? :)

Kudos for the great reporting!

simkeith on March 9, 2013 at 5:36 PM

I took a trip to Europe in January 1973, during my senior year in college, and went to the Vatican. It was beautiful. At the time I went pictures were allowed, but the use of a flash was prohibited. Light does do damage to color and even black and white photographs. Today with modern cameras and flashes built in they may now just ban all cameras.

SC.Charlie on March 9, 2013 at 5:50 PM

Ed, what kind of camera are you using on the photos in the flickr stream?

rightside on March 9, 2013 at 5:19 PM

Canon EOS Rebel T2i 18MP, using the stock EF-S 18-55MM lens, no flash, ISO 1000.

unclesmrgol on March 9, 2013 at 5:59 PM

Wow! Absolutely astounded that you’ve had no issues using photography or video in the Sistine Chapel. I’ve been there at least four or five times (once in ’78, before the restoration began) and each time we’ve seen others get kindly asked to stop recording and to put their cameras away. In fact, I’m pretty sure that there are pictograms which indicate no photography permitted.

We usually have a wonderful time sitting on the outer bench seats – and watching the expressions on people’s faces as they enter and look up. When you’re done looking up, you should look down… the floor is pretty amazing too! And to think of the history of that room – it blows me away every time.

Enjoy! And thanks for whetting my appetite again!

Hill60 on March 9, 2013 at 4:48 PM

See that is what I remember as well. I don’t remember no flash photography.. I remember NO PHOTOgraphy. LOL– Yeah when you are waiting in line you wonder why they have a guard there telling you to move along-bequiet until you walk in. Everyone has the same reaction.. Stop, look up, awe and then “oooohhhhhh.”

melle1228 on March 9, 2013 at 6:23 PM

PatriotGal2257 on March 9, 2013 at 2:56 PM

sorry to hear that :(
if you ever get the chance again to visit…

cmsinaz on March 9, 2013 at 6:31 PM

nice steeler head there Ed :)

cmsinaz on March 9, 2013 at 6:34 PM

Very nice! The last time I was there scaffolding covered parts of the chapel impeding the view of the paintings. Am looking forward to your coverage of the conclave in the days/weeks to come.

TXJenny on March 9, 2013 at 7:15 PM

melle1228 on March 9, 2013 at 3:28 PM

That would have been great to see the Pope give his blessing. We didn’t get to experience that either. Would have loved it!

cmsinaz on March 9, 2013 at 6:31 PM

Yes, someday, we hope to have the chance to visit again. The trip we were on in the mid-90s was great, but it was also a blur of activity going from one location and one country to the next. In our brief time in Rome, we took a tour of the city and we met an Australian couple there who I believe were university professors who had been traveling around the world and were on the last leg of their trip. The man asked us how long our vacation was and my hubby answered “two weeks.” The man replied that it wasn’t nearly long enough (no kidding, I thought, but we weren’t independently wealthy either :)) and we agreed. If we ever get to go back, I’d go for a month’s time staying in one place!

PatriotGal2257 on March 9, 2013 at 7:18 PM

Hey Ed. Raised Catholic and converted to Baptist but I still find this fascinating. I look forward to your daily dispatches. Can you include an oddity of the day from the Vatican or Rome in general? I find it is the quirks that make every trip more memorable even though I am positve you will never forget this one. Thanks.

dddave on March 9, 2013 at 8:15 PM

Beautiful, Ed. What a privilege it is for us to share your trip vicariously.

Nice shots of the ‘Burgh, too.

onlineanalyst on March 9, 2013 at 8:20 PM

What a great opportunity for you Ed.

Thanks for covering the conclave and posting the photos of the Sistine Chapel.

The history of the Chapel is a compelling study.

The Vatican is foremost a living Church and that so many throughout her long history labored in her glory as expressions of Love for the Lord is very moving.

To listen to Cardinals describe taking their oath in front of the Altar, while Michelangelo’s Last Judgment looms is compelling considering the weight of their responsibility. I read one quote in the media where a Cardinal said “The Holy Spirit has already chosen the Next Pope and we must discover him…”

Exciting and Tremulous times indeed.

workingclass artist on March 10, 2013 at 11:10 AM