Conclave Begins To Select Pope, Crowd Gathers To Watch Smoke

1:24 PM, Mar 12, 2013   |    comments
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Crowd gathers to watch first smoke from the Sistine Chapel (@smewing via Twitter)

VATICAN CITY (WUSA9/AP) - Benedict XVI is said to be following the proceedings to pick the next pope from home.

Cardinals from around the world started the task of choosing his successor on Tuesday. They are locked inside the Sistine Chapel for the first of the votes to select a new pope. 

A crowd has gathered to watch the smoke signal indicating whether the electors have chosen a pope. The first smoke signal --which could be black or white -- is expected to happen between 7 and 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

Earlier Tuesday, the cardinals recited a Gregorian chant as they filed into the chapel and took their oath of secrecy. For the first time in history, television cameras showed the beginning of the conclave, capturing the dramatic closing of the chapel's double doors.

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