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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

White Smoke Appears at Vatican; New Pope Has Been Chosen

In the fifth vote on the second day of the conclave, a new pope was selected.

A new pope has been selected. White smoke appeared out of the Sistine Chapel chimney shortly after 7 p.m. Rome time Wednesday.

The new pope is expected to wave from the balcony of the Sistine Chapel and give a speech and a blessing.

The papal conclave to elect a new pope began Tuesday morning at the Vatican.

Tens of thousands of people pack St. Peters Square on Wednesday night in anticipation of the reveal of the new pope. (Vatican TV)
Tens of thousands of people pack St. Peters Square on Wednesday night in anticipation of the reveal of the new pope. (Vatican TV)

This is the first time in 600 years that an election has been held because of a pope's resignation. Typically, papal elections occur after the death of a pope.

To elect a new pope, every cardinal under the age of 80 traveled to Rome to participate in the conclave election process.

The conclave began with a mass in St. Peter's Basilica and was followed by a procession to the Sistine Chapel.

The chapel is checked for microphones or any other recording devices before the cardinals arrive. The cardinal's phones are also blocked, withholding them from communicating with anyone about the secret election process.

The 115 cardinals participating in the election process this year began by taking an oath of secrecy.

After this oath, the first voting process began. Each cardinal is allowed one vote and cannot vote for himself.

In order to be elected, a candidate for the papacy must receive two-thirds of the total vote.

This voting process continues with two votes in the morning and two in the afternoon, for five consecutive days, or until a pope has been chosen.

The voting process is revealed to the public when the ballots are burned at the end of each voting round.

The Vatican reported 5,600 journalists received accreditation to cover the papal conclave and announcement of the new pope.

There are approximately 1.2 billion Roman Catholics in the world.

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