(AP) Black smoke billowed from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel Wednesday , meaning Roman Catholic cardinals have not elected a pope in their second or third rounds of balloting.
Cardinals voted twice Wednesday in Michelangelo's famed frescoed chapel after a first vote Tuesday in a conclave to elect a successor to Benedict XVI, who stunned the Catholic world last month by becoming the first pope in 600 years to resign.
The conclave was called after Pope Benedict XVI resigned last month, throwing the church into turmoil and exposing deep divisions among cardinals tasked with finding a manager to clean up a corrupt Vatican bureaucracy as well as a pastor who can revive Catholicism in a time of growing secularism.
Cardinals returned to the Sistine Chapel on Wednesday for a second day of voting to choose a new pope after a great plume of black smoke from the Sistine Chapel chimney indicated that their first vote the night before yielded no winner.
The drama - with stage sets by Michelangelo and an outcome that is anyone's guess - is playing out against the backdrop of the turmoil unleashed by Benedict XVI's surprise resignation and the exposure of deep divisions among cardinals.
As a result, many analysts predict a long conclave - or at least longer than the four ballots it took to elect Benedict in 2005.
As they did on Tuesday night, thousands of people braved a chilly rain on Wednesday morning to watch the 6-foot- (2-meter-) high copper chimney on the chapel roof for the smoke signals telling them whether a new pope has been elected. Nuns recited the rosary, while children splashed in puddles.
Unlike the confusion that reigned during the 2005 conclave, the smoke Tuesday night was clearly black - thanks to special smoke flares akin to those used in soccer matches or protests that were lit in the chapel ovens to make the burned ballots black.
The cardinals spent the night sequestered in the Vatican's Santa Marta hotel, an impersonal modern hotel on the edge of the Vatican gardens. They have no access to television, newspapers, cell phones or computers, and all the hotel staff have taken an oath of secrecy to not reveal anything they see or hear.
The actual vote takes place in loftier surroundings: the Sistine Chapel frescoed by Michelangelo in the 16th century with scenes of "Creation" and "The Last Judgment."