Friday, March 15, 2013

White smoke

There is a new Pope in town.
And when I say town, I mean Vatican City - the smallest country in the world.

I always wanted to go see the Pope.
It was one of my obsessions - like wanting to meet Oprah (Thank God I'm done with that phase).

I really liked Pope John Paul II. Just because he looked like such a sweet old man.
But, by the time I made the trip, Pope Benedict XVI had taken over as the Pope.

I travelled to Rome in 2006 with my sister. And we managed to spend a day at Vatican City.
I am not Catholic, though I know all the hymns thanks to the school I studied at.
But it was exciting nonetheless.

We managed to visit Vatican City on a Wednesday - when the Pope held his weekly General Audience.
I was super excited to see the Pope and when I got there I had no idea what he was saying the whole time. 
It all sounded like Latin to me.
Maybe because it was.

But as we all know, Pope Benedict XVI decided to retire last month which created a lot of questions, bad Facebook jokes and silly Tumblr blogs.

And then on Wednesday night, a little after 7pm, a new Pope was elected.

The age-old process of electing a Pope with the Vatican Conclave began in the Sistine Chapel on Wednesday.
While the 115 cardinals were still deliberating, a puff of black smoke was seen emerging from the chimney on the roof of the Sistine Chapel indicating that they had not yet chosen a new Pope.

It's sort of their version of Wait for it.

And when a new Pope was elected, a puff of white smoke was seen.
And the crowds were heard cheering in different tongues - 

Habemus Papam!

Il papa!

We have a Pope!

The new Pope is Pope Francis, formerly known as Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio who was the archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina.
He is the first South American (and first non-European) to lead the Roman Catholic Church as the 266th pontiff.

I can't say I agree with his thoughts on many things but I've realised that sometimes it's ok to just agree to disagree.
Here's hoping his election will do some good in this world.

[The secret recipe used for the black smoke is a combination of potassium perchlorate, anthracene (a derivative of coal tar), and sulphur. While the white smoke is created with potassium chlorate, lactose and a pine resin.]

All photos by me. Video from Pink Panther II.

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