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BLACK SMOKE AGAIN SIGNALS NO SELECTION OF NEW POPE
ONLOOKERS IN SQUARE CONFUSED AT FIRST BY COLOR, THEN BY BELLS

Black smoke emerged from the Sistine Chapel chimney again today as the cardinals inside failed to elect a pope.

Several thousand pilgrims and tourists who packed St. Peter's Square to stare at the stovepipe jutting from the chapel's rooftop gasped when the smoke appeared just before noon. White smoke -- and the pealing of bells shortly afterward -- eventually will tell the world that the church's 265th pontiff has been chosen to succeed Pope John Paul II, who died April 2 at age 84.

The smoke this morning confused onlookers for the second time in two days, but this time bells added to the uncertainty as well.

The crowd was quiet as it tried to determine the color of the smoke, which initially appeared to be gray. As it darkened, the pilgrims began to disperse as the chimney stopped spewing black smoke.

But when the bells of St. Peter's Basilica tolled -- as they do at noon every day -- many still in the square thought it was the signal that a new pope had been elected. Only when the chimney spewed more black smoke was the outcome clear.

The 115 voting cardinals sequestered in the chapel broke for lunch after the morning balloting and reconvened in the afternoon for more voting.

The first vote Monday evening also was surrounded by confusion among anxious spectators in St. Peter's Square as smoke rose from the chapel rooftop shortly after 8 p.m.

As has happened in the past, the smoke appeared at times white, or at least light gray, against the fading blue sky, leading some people to believe that the cardinals had elected Catholicism's next pontiff.

But the applause and cheers quickly dissipated as the smoke turned to a charcoal gray -- the signal that balloting among the cardinals did not amount to two-thirds agreement on who would lead the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.

St. Peter's bells also did not toll. Vatican officials said before the conclave began that the bells would sound in the event of a new pope, a change that John Paul requested to eliminate confusion.

Still, several Italian women gleefully shouted, "Papa! Papa!" -- the Italian word for pope -- and others stood and cheered.

The cardinals had entered the chapel more than two hours earlier in a ritual procession from Pauline Chapel and swore oaths of secrecy before shutting themselves inside to begin the 265th conclave.

Not until the smoke came was anyone certain the cardinals would even cast votes Monday. Over the weekend, Vatican officials said the electors wouldn't make a decision until they were inside the chapel.

Still, tens of thousands of people began filing into the square at about 6:30 p.m. Television screens planted near the giant statues of St. Peter on one end of the square and St. Paul on the other showed close-up images of the chimney along with live footage of the crowd and other scenes from around St. Peter's Basilica.

The dark smoke lasted only a minute or two, but it capped a whole day of grave anticipation.

In a 10 a.m. Mass inside the basilica, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany, considered a papal possibility, especially in the Italian media, opened his homily with a nod to "this hour of great responsibility" facing the cardinals and the entire Catholic Church. He then called on Catholics to become adults in their faith by refusing to be swept up in ideological currents and "winds of doctrine" that obscure "deceit from truth."

Ratzinger, who had served under John Paul II for many years as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and is known as an enforcer of orthodoxy in the church, condemned as "human trickery" the alternatives to Christian faith that have developed over the years, including Marxism, liberalism, "vague religious mysticism" and agnosticism, to name a few.

After the 90-minute Mass, cardinals took an afternoon break, while Italians and tourists congregated in the square and along Via della Conciliazione to absorb history in the making.

Many tourists never figured when they made travel arrangements that they would be in Rome during a papal transition.

"I think we'll come every day," said Dr. Sanjeev Vohra, an Ithaca surgeon, visiting with his wife, Meera, and their two daughters. "Even to see the black smoke and get a sense of what it's like."

e-mail: jtokasz@buffnews.com

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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