Mar 13, 2013

By Scott Walker

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Plumes of black smoke poured out of the chimney at the Sistine Chapel just before 7:00 this morning.

That means, after three ballots, 115 Catholic Cardinals have not reached a consensus on the next Pope.

It doesn’t come as a great surprise. Experts had expected a drawn-out election because there was no clear front-runner entering the conclave.

Pope Benedict’s surprise resignation has exposed deep divisions among cardinals who are trying to decide whether they need a manager to clean up the Vatican’s dysfunctional bureaucracy, or a pastor who can inspire Catholics.  Or a combination of the two; “Jesus with an MBA,” as one commentator put it.

The cardinals will now break for lunch and what will probably be some intense discussion about the cardinals who are receiving support so far. Two more votes are scheduled for today. The  first is scheduled for about Noon eastern daylight time.

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