Sunday 17 December 2017

Lise Hand: Nuns on run break into a sprint for the basilica as if it were a Clerys sale

It was 7.40pm when a roar rose from the massive crowd in a rain-soaked St Peter's Square.

Above them, the chimney spluttered to life as a grey smoke appeared, but it rapidly turned to an inky black, and nobody was in any doubt. Non habemus papam at the first time of trying.

It had been a long day of chimney-watching. In a stark contrast to the sumptuous surrounds of the interior of St Peter's Basilica, the conclave stovepipe is decidedly modest. It's a 3ft cast-iron, flat-topped cylinder, and it has just been pressed into service for the seventh time since 1939 when it coughed out white smoke for the election of Pope Pius XII.

Please sign in or register with Independent.ie for free access to Opinions.

Sign In

Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Don't Miss