Mar 12, 2013

By Scott Walker

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The eyes of the world’s Catholics will be focused on a chimney at the Sistine Chapel this week.

The colour of the smoke from that chimney will tell them whether 115 cardinals have elected a new Pope.

White smoke rising from the chimney means a new Pope has been selected. Black smoke means the cardinals have not reached a decision.

The cardinals  celebrated a final mass at St. Peter’s Basilica before beginning the conclave.

Italy’s Angelo Scola is considered one of the front-runners to become the 266th Pope. But many consider him too closely aligned with the Vatican bureaucracy that they feel needs a massive overhaul.

Canada’s Marc Ouellet is one of several cardinals who are considered to be an alternative to Scola. Ouellet is a Quebec native who holds a powerful post in the Vatican where he plays a key role in the selection of bishops and archbishops around the world.

But there is no clear front-runner, so the conclave could last for several days. The first smoke from the Sistine chapel’s chimney could come mid-afternoon Eastern Daylight time.

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