Sistine Chapel Readied for Conclave

    VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - MARCH 09:  Members of the Vatican Fire Brigade install the chimney on the top of the Sistine Chapel which will emit smoke as cardinals prepare to vote for a new pope on March 9, 2013 in Vatican City, Vatican. Cardinals are set to enter the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI after he became the first pope in 600 years to resign from the role. The conclave is scheduled to start on March 12 inside the Sistine Chapel and will be attended by 115 cardinals as they vote to select the 266th Pope of the Catholic Church.  (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

    Chimney installed on the Sistine Chapel on Saturday. (Christopher Furlong/Getty)

    It’s a typical renovation project: new chimney, new stoves, new floor. Except this makeover happened at the Sistine Chapel this week in advance of the papal conclave, the group of cardinals that will gather there to elect a new pope starting Tuesday. Because the cardinals are sworn to secrecy, workers swept the brand-new floor to check for bugging devices, and the group’s only communication with the outside world until a new pope is chosen will be those stoves and that chimney. After each vote, ballots will be burned in one stove and smoke sent through the chimney from the other—black if a decision hasn’t been made, white if there’s a new pontiff.

    Read it at Los Angeles Times