Green Room

Smoke Watch: Day 1

posted at 1:54 pm on March 12, 2013 by

(VATICAN CITY) After the “extra omnes” signaled the start of the papal conclave, the media center has been full, or very nearly so, waiting to see whether the cardinals will take a vote tonight or not.  Vatican TV has live video of the crowd that formed during the procession and which remained despite significant rain and cold winds today, although the skies have apparently cleared somewhat.  Four giant TV screens stand in the corners of St. Peter’s Square, displaying the view from the official camera shot of the chimney that will signal whether a vote has succeeded and selected the new Pope, or failed with more attempts tomorrow.

Unknown to me until now was that La Sala Stampa had two media centers in operation — one at my location, and another where I originally picked up my credentials.  They closed the other center at 5 pm and sent the journalists here.  That may be why they were so quick to add new work stations, and they were needed.  During the procession it was standing room only, but at the moment it’s only two-thirds full.  They also added a second wi-fi network, as the first was getting overloaded and intermittently failing altogether.

At this point it might be another hour before we’ll see the results of today’s conclave start.  I’m sticking around the media center because (a) I have one of the hardwire connections, and (b) if the impossible happened and the conclave was settled on the first vote, I’d be kicking myself if I had assumed differently and had left the building.  Besides, even though I’m inside, we’re still getting a beautiful night view of St. Peter’s Basilica, and I’ll miss that when I have to leave Rome.

Update: To clarify a little, the cardinals can decide whether or not to hold a vote tonight; they are not required to do so, according to yesterday’s press briefing.  They may or may not choose to do so, and the only way we’ll know is if we either see smoke or they leave the Sistine Chapel for dinner (the media center will be alerted in that case).

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I have one of the hardwire connections

Non habemus papam. Non habemus wifi.

steebo77 on March 12, 2013 at 2:02 PM

I wish I was there with you Ed. It is a such a beautiful place, plus add this momentous occasion. Good work over there.

Static21 on March 12, 2013 at 2:02 PM

Keep up the good work Ed.

WisRich on March 12, 2013 at 2:05 PM

I wish they had a better chimney.

Rusty Allen on March 12, 2013 at 2:06 PM

Ed, I’m not clear from your post… have they said for sure that they are, in fact, taking a vote today, or do we still not know?

God bless you in your travels, Ed.

Shump on March 12, 2013 at 2:08 PM

Cardinal Dolan predicts there will be a new pope by Thursday evening. If there is a pope today it would have to be one of the fastest conclaves in history. Nevertheless, it is a wise move to be there just in case. Enjoy the view Ed, you are there living it for us and I, for one, really appreciate it.

msmveritas on March 12, 2013 at 2:09 PM

I give it 5 votes tops. I can’t imagine that the number of favorites is very large (more than 6).

nobar on March 12, 2013 at 2:11 PM

I wish they had a better chimney.

Rusty Allen on March 12, 2013 at 2:06 PM

I just wish they could put some Flood lights on that Chimney at night. It seems to me it would be hard to determine if the smoke is black or white after dark.

WisRich on March 12, 2013 at 2:12 PM

I give it 5 votes tops. I can’t imagine that the number of favorites is very large (more than 6).

nobar on March 12, 2013 at 2:11 PM

It is probably going to be longer than the 2005 conclave.

Illinidiva on March 12, 2013 at 2:14 PM

‏@iowahawkblog

Black smoke: no new pope. White smoke: new pope. Green smoke: Pope Snoop Dogg I. Blue smoke: Popemobile needs a ring job. #SmokeSignals

Bmore on March 12, 2013 at 2:15 PM

The buzz has been building, in the American press at least, regarding the possible election of either Timothy Cardinal Dolan or Sean Cardinal O’Malley.

Why does no one ever mention Raymond Cardinal Burke? Is it because the liberal media outlets dislike him for having been so outspoken against abortion and hypocritical Catholic politicians?

steebo77 on March 12, 2013 at 2:15 PM

I wish they had a better chimney.

Rusty Allen on March 12, 2013 at 2:06 PM

If you can’t tell the color of the smoke listen for bells. No bells = no pope.

msmveritas on March 12, 2013 at 2:17 PM

Yes, flood lights too.

Rusty Allen on March 12, 2013 at 2:17 PM

msmveritas on March 12, 2013 at 2:17 PM

That’s cool.

Rusty Allen on March 12, 2013 at 2:18 PM

If you can’t tell the color of the smoke listen for bells. No bells = no pope.

msmveritas on March 12, 2013 at 2:17 PM

Ahh yes…I forgot…the bells.

WisRich on March 12, 2013 at 2:20 PM

The Vegas odds have been set, and are being reported by The World’s Only Reliable News Source.

They actually do get this right, kinda, and it included the latest Vegas line. People gamble on anything and everything.

Still interesting to read the tabloid take on this. Well, at least extraterrestrials have not been mentioned as influencing the Cardinals.

simkeith on March 12, 2013 at 2:22 PM

Why does no one ever mention Raymond Cardinal Burke? Is it because the liberal media outlets dislike him for having been so outspoken against abortion and hypocritical Catholic politicians?

steebo77 on March 12, 2013 at 2:15 PM

Maybe. More likely its because he’s not currently the head of an archdiocese like Dolan (New York), O’Malley (Boston), Wuerl (DC), or George (Chicago). Burke was Bishop of La Crosse before being the Archbishop of St. Louis; he’s been in Rome the last couple of years, I think. LSM types have a hard enough time picking out St. Louis on a map, much less La Crosse, Wisconsin. You actually expect them to think that someone worth talking about might actually come out of those places? ;-)

JimLennon on March 12, 2013 at 2:39 PM

Okay, forget about the flood light. It’s pretty obvious its black.

WisRich on March 12, 2013 at 2:42 PM

Yup

Rusty Allen on March 12, 2013 at 2:43 PM

Non habemus papam. Non habemus wifi.

steebo77 on March 12, 2013 at 2:02 PM

LOL!

I wish I was there with you Ed. It is a such a beautiful place, plus add this momentous occasion. Good work over there.

Static21 on March 12, 2013 at 2:02 PM

Megadittoes!

PatriotGal2257 on March 12, 2013 at 2:56 PM