Crowd disappointed by black smoke, but Vatican spokesman says consensus takes time

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(AP Photo)

(AP Photo)

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The sight of thick black smoke from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel is bringing sighs of disappointment from the thousands of people who’ve gathered there in the rainy, chilly weather, waiting for news that a new pope has been elected.

A Nigerian priest who is studying theology at Holy Cross University in Rome says he’s “not happy to see black smoke.” But he says, “Maybe it means that the cardinals need to take time,” and make sure that they make the right choice.

Two votes today, and a vote yesterday on the first day of the conclave, failed to result in the election of a pope. Additional votes are expected later today.

A Vatican spokesman notes that only one pope in the past century — Pope Pius XII — was elected on the third ballot, and that was on the eve of World War II.

The spokesman says, “We don’t have any reason to talk about divisions,” or about conflicts. The Rev. Federico Lombardi says it simply takes time to reach consensus on who the new pope should be.

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