At 18:06, UK time, with all eyes in St Peter’s Square and around the world on the temporary smokestack poking out of the roof of the Sistine Chapel, white smoke poured forth heralding the news that the cardinals had chosen the 266th Pope.
The identity of the man chosen to lead the global Catholic Church will not be known for almost an hour.
The successful candidate will have been asked, “Do you accept your canonical election as Supreme Pontiff?” When he gives his agreement he is then asked what name he will choose as Pope. This agreement and choice is then signed and, assuming that the person is already a bishop, he immediately becomes Bishop of Rome.
The cardinals then hold a short ceremony with prayer, reading the Scriptures and a time for the electors to offer their congratulations to the new Pope.
They will then sing the Te Deum, “Thee, O God, we praise”, and process out of the chapel.
Before appearing on the balcony to be announced to the world, the new Bishop of Rome will stop at the Pauline Chapel to pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament.
Cardinal Proto-Deacon, Jean Louis Cardinal Tauran, will then make the “Habemus Papam” announcement, “We have a Pope”, from the central balcony at St. Peter’s Basilica.