David Crabtree on Assignment

Eyes on Vatican as papal conclave begins secret voting

Posted March 12, 2013

Hundreds of thousands of North Carolina's faithful this week are eyeing the Vatican, where the selection of the Roman Catholic Church's 266th pontiff is underway. There are 950,000 Catholics in the state, making up 9.8 percent of the total population.

Black smoke was expected for the first vote of the papal conclave, and black smoke is what streamed out of the Sistine Chapel chimney Tuesday afternoon.

Earlier Tuesday, 115 cardinals made their way into the Sistine Chapel and, captured on film for the very first time, took their oaths of secrecy in Latin. Any cardinal that breaks the oath of secrecy could be ex-communicated. 

While these men began their work, hundreds stood in the cold rain watching video screens in St. Peter's Square. 

Kaylaan Arnold and Katie Paplaek, who made the pilgrimage from Australia to watch the papal conclave unfold, said they believe charisma will play a role in the conclave's decision. 

Father Mark Harold, rector of English University in Rome Vatican onlookers hope for dynamic, media savvy pontiff

"I think we need someone that's got a bit of dynamite and a bit of pizzazz," Arnold said. 

"It doesn't matter how they come or what they bring, as long as the people reach out for them and they're doing the right thing," Paplaek said.

Father Mark Harold, rector of English University in Rome, said the church needs a dynamic leader with media savvy.

"The media that we have now, we've only had for the last 60 years, let's say, so we've have 1,900 years of popes who have had no media at all to deal with," Harold said. "So, they have to be aware of the media, how to relate the message of the gospel, how to live the message of the gospel."

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About this Blog:

WRAL anchor David Crabtree reports from around the world.