Balcony of St Peter's is empty for now but a new pope sits waiting in the wings
LIKE avid pigeons diving towards a hungered-for hunk of bread, flocks of photographers and reporters flew across St Peter's Square at the sighting of a scarlet cap striding over the cobblestones.
Moreover, it was a particularly juicy piece of bread in the shape of Canadian cardinal Marc Oullet who is considered by some to be one of the frontrunners to replace Pope Benedict. But the anxious flock ran in vain – flanked by several Carabinieri, the cardinal smilingly kept moving, and kept schtum.
By yesterday, most of the myriad moves in the elaborate choreography that is the election of a new Pontiff were set up and ready to begin. At the last pre-conclave press conference, the papal spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi painstakingly spelled out how events would unfold, beginning that afternoon and ending when the chosen one appears on the balcony of St Peter's.