First day of conclave concludes without new pope's election
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VATICAN CITY - Thousands of faithful waited and hoped on a rainy, cold night in St. Peter's Square, all watching for white smoke.
It was a day that started with all cardinals, the 115 who will vote and those who are excluded because they're 80 or older, celebrating the "pro eligendo Papa" mass at the majestic St. Peter's Basilica.
After mass, the voting cardinals had lunch, then solemnly entered the Sistine Chapel, where they will choose a new leader.
The cardinals sang a litany of all the saints and professed obedience to the next pope.
Then, the doors to the chapel closed and were locked.
Before the conclave began, Cardinal Timothy Dolan made his last appearance on the Catholic Radio Channel.
"It's almost a microcosm of life itself, you know, how you try to make the right decisions in conformity with God's holy will," Dolan said. "And I think that's what's happening now. I just hope I see you soon."
But not yet. When the smoke did appear above the chapel, 2 1/2 hours after the conclave began, it was black.
"I wasn't here in 2005. Then, it was a little difficult to determine whether it was black or white," said one person. "No such difficulty tonight."
"I don't think anybody was really disappointed," said another. "I think everybody didn't think there was going to be a pope tonight."
Now, the chance of quickly electing a new pope increases.
"For the first time, the cardinals really know how much support each candidate has, because they actually had a vote. Everything else has been rumor," said the Rev. Thomas Reese, a Vatican expert. "Tomorrow, when they come in and vote, the key thing will be, do their votes increase."
Folks said it was worth it to be here, even if a pope wasn't chosen.
"We're leaving tomorrow, so we figured we had to come and see the smoke either way," said one person.
"I think it's a special night," said another. "It's a special event."
Vatican officials had said a winner after the first round of voting was unlikely.
Day 2 of the conclave begins Wednesday morning.