Black smoke billowed from the Vatican again for a second day as Roman Catholic cardinals entered a new day of deliberation Wednesday to choose a new pope.
A third round of voting on March 13 sent out another black smoke signal.
Thousands of people gathered on St. Peter's Square Wednesday huddled under umbrellas as 115 cardinals began their day under Michelangelo's artistic splendors in the Vatican's Sistine Chapel.
Many of the faithful gathered on the cold, damp square are leaving it to a higher power to decide who will lead their band of 1.2 billion Catholics as the successor to Pope Benedict XVI, as the global media speculates whether it will be someone from Africa, Asia or Latin America instead of fromEurope.
They want to see white smoke emerge from the Sistine Chapel, a sign that a new pontiff has been elected by at least 77, or two-thirds of the cardinals.
Should there be no new pope by Friday, the cardinals will stop for a break Saturday to pray, before resuming for another three days of voting with a one-day break until a pontiff is elected.
Outside the world's media carries a debate on scandal and strife the Catholic Church and those prescribing change for an institution that many in the secular world see is lagging behind modern society.
Catholic clerics are asked if what new pope will user in married priests, or female priests and who will be more tolerant on the gay community.
Most point out that the Catholic Church is an institution that moves slowly and that even changing matters such as good governance at the Vatican, where financial impropriety and bickering lurk is not easy for a pontiff as Pope Benedict XVI discovered.
There seems to be a unanimity that the new pope will have to be someone who can deal decisively with the incessant scandals relating to abuse of minors by priests and the cover-up related to them.
This is the issue most raise by those concerned about the Catholic Church in North America and also in Europe.