Black smoke again signals cardinals' failure to elect a new pope

Black smoke emerged from the Sistine Chapel chimney again Tuesday as the scarlet-robed cardinals inside failed in their second day trying to elect a new pope to build on John Paul II's legacy and heal deep rifts within the Roman Catholic Church.

Several thousand pilgrims and tourists who packed St. Peter's Square to stare at the slender stovepipe jutting from the chapel's brown-tiled rooftop gasped as the smoke appeared just before noon (1000 GMT). The 115 voting cardinals sequestered in the chapel were to break for lunch and reconvene in the afternoon for the day's final session of secret balloting.

The crowd was quiet at first as it tried to determine the color of the smoke, which began gray. As the plume darkened, the pilgrims began to disperse.

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 John Paul, who died April 2 at age 84.

Tuesday's inconclusive first voting session followed morning Mass in the cardinals' high-security Vatican hotel. The prelates from six continents and 52 countries were to return to the chapel at 4 p.m. (1400 GMT) for two afternoon ballots, with a new plume of smoke expected by 7 p.m. (1700 GMT).

If the afternoon session also fails to produce a pope, the conclave will resume Wednesday morning.

WILLIAM J. KOLE, Associated Press Writer

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