Voting began October 26 for a successor to Pius 12. But after four ballots in?
Voting began October 26 for a successor to Pius 12. But after four ballots in a special room of the Sistine Chapel at St. Peter's the 51 cardinals voting failed to agree by a two - thirds plus one majority on a new Pope.
All day, crowds on St. Peter's square watched a simple smoke stock at the side of the Sistine Chapel - from which would come the traditional signal: - white smoke announcing agreement, black signifying failure.
Twice, official announcements said a new Pope had been elected because twice the smoke streamed white, then it grew darker, turned to black. But word of the white smoke puffs had flashed round the world and the people in the Square cheered, applauded. And twice Vatican Radio had to say there had been a mistake.
(The white smoke comes from burning the ballot papers only. Wet strow is added to produce black smoke if the ballots fail to show the necessary majority.)
The cardinals, still in secret conclave, were voting again today (October 27).