Smoke watching starts today in Rome.
I was both impressed and disappointed to see the shiny chimney, held by scaffolding, sitting pretty in the sistine chapel. I like the incongruity of it against the frescoes, but was a bit miffed that it wasn’t a real chimney that was part of the fabric of the place.
If I’d visited the chapel, I may have been intrigued by the local guide pointing out where the papers are burned, and explaining about the smoke – but obviously it is not a permanent feature.
Wouldn’t it be something if the actual papers that revealed the identity of the new pope naturally burned with white smoke (or is it black smoke) thus indeed verifying from on high the winner of the lottery. Alas, it is some additive that colours the smoke.
However, harking back to last night’s PCC again. In our decision making, there was something that naturally coloured the smoke of the outcome. It was the nature of the discussion, and how everyone engaged with heart and mind.
I hope the cardinals find themselves doing the same.
That won’t be evident in the smoke, but it will be evident in the ministry of the pope. That’s a prayer for grace we can all join in.