VATICAN CITY — The papal conclave is steeped in mystery — and the church likes it that way. Elaborate ritual and veils of secrecy, after all, are fundamental to the papal mystique, seen as the glue that binds worshipers in faith.
But in this conclave, the church appears to be making some concessions to the instant clarity expected in the Internet era: Just look at the thick plumes of black smoke that poured from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel on Tuesday and Wednesday to tell the world that the votes had not yielded a winner.
It was a big contrast to conclaves past in which confusion has reigned over the smoke color, with pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square screaming: “It’s white! … no, no … it’s black!!”
The smoke ritual itself dates back more than a century. And, regardless of questions of color, the Vatican has no intention of changing the tradition now — saying the uncertainty is part of the beauty of the process.
“A little suspense is good for all of us,” said Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi. “Don’t expect Swiss-watch precision.”
Read More at OfficialWire . By Victor L. Simpson.
Photo Credit: John H. Wright (Creative Commons)