VATICAN CITY -- Roman Catholic cardinals signaled Wednesday that they had failed to agree on a new pope during the early session of the second day of secret voting inside the Sistine Chapel.
Black smoke rose from a stovepipe above the chapel before noon as ballots from the morning’s vote were burned because no single candidate had won support from at least two-thirds of the 115 cardinals gathered to choose a successor to Benedict XVI.
Thousands of people gathered in St. Peter’s Square under a sea of umbrellas and gave a shout as the smoke poured skyward. In contrast to the previous night, the smoke was slightly more gray than black, leading to some initial confusion.
Benedict in February became the first pope in six centuries to resign as head of the Roman Catholic Church.
The cardinals were breaking for lunch and a rest and will resume voting Wednesday afternoon.
One voting session on Tuesday and two Wednesday morning have proved inconclusive, meaning that support has not yet coalesced around a single man but remains spread over several candidates. Analysts believe that reflects disagreement over who is best suited to lead the troubled church as it navigates scandals and declining loyalty in some parts of the world.