VATICAN CITY- Black smoke is billowing from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel, meaning Roman Catholic cardinals have not elected a pope in their second or third rounds of balloting.
Cardinals voted twice Wednesday in Michelangelo's famed frescoed chapel after a first vote Tuesday in a conclave to elect a successor to Benedict XVI, who stunned the Catholic world last month by becoming the first pope in 600 years to resign.
While the world anxiously awaits the conclave's decision, the Vatican is revealing what the smoke signals emerging from the Sistine Chapel chimney are made of, after the stir caused by how much more distinct the black smoke in this conclave has been compared to the past.
The Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said the black smoke that came Tuesday and Wednesday - indicating a pope had not been elected - was made by adding cartridges containing potassium perchlorate, anthracene (a component of coal tar), and sulfur to the burned ballots.
The white smoke signaling a pope has been elected is produced by potassium chlorate, lactose and chloroform resin.
The Vatican is burning the flares following confusion in past conclaves about smoke color. Lombardi said that neither the chapel frescoes nor the cardinals inside suffered from the smoke.
The conclave was called after Pope Benedict XVI resigned last month, throwing the church into turmoil and exposing deep divisions among cardinals tasked with finding a manager to clean up a corrupt Vatican bureaucracy as well as a pastor who can revive Catholicism in a time of growing secularism.
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