CNN has been on “pope watch” all day and at 2:06 p.m. EST on March 13, anchor Chris Cuomo reported on air after seeing smoke billow from the chimney atop the Sistene Chapel, “It certainly seems to be turning progressively more white.” He then added, “Bells are ringing and that means we have a new pope." People in Rome cheered and car horns blared immediately afterward.
CNN, Fox News and ABC have all extended their papal TV coverage from Rome as 115 cardinal electors remained sequestered to vote on a new pope. After four rounds of voting, clouds of white smoke billowed out of the chimney, meaning a 2/3 majority was met. At first, the smoke seemed dark, but within seconds it turned lighter and eventually white, signaling that 1.2 billion Catholics across the globe have a new leader.
Anderson Cooper, who has been in Rome to cover the papal conclave for CNN exclaimed, “What an extraordinary moment!” Miguel Marquez reported on the crowds below and said on Wednesday, “It’s freezing and miserable, but electric and exciting at the same time.” The new pope will serve as the 266th leader of the Catholic Church.
Chris Cuomo was quick to point out that the big question is now, “Who is the new pope?” CNN Vatican experts said that since a decision was reached after just one full day, all signs point to an early front runner like Cardinal Angelo Scola, Archbishop of Milan; Cardinal Marc Ouellet, former Archbishop of Quebec; or Cardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer, Archbishop of Sao Paola in Brazil. Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley, the Archbishop from Boston, is considered a long shot.
CNN and FOX News remain on air continuously to cover the election of a new pope and successor to Pope Benedict XVI. This naming of a new pope is especially momentous to Catholics around the world because it’s the first time in modern history that there are two living popes.
All eyes now turn to the balcony at St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. The new pope is expected to emerge around 3 p.m. EST to face his followers for the first time and to reveal his identity.
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