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Firefighters installed the top of the Sistine Chapel chimney that will signal a newly elected pope

7:41 AM, Mar 9, 2013   |    comments
(FILES) This file picture taken on April 15, 2005 shows Vatican workers place the chimney pot on the roof of the Sistine Chapel for the conclave starting 18 April 2005. The Catholic Church faced a tricky transition on February 12, 2013 as it prepared to elect a new pope, with many faithful still reeling from the shock resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. AFP PHOTO/ FILES / Patrick HERTZOG (Photo credit should read PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP/Getty Images)
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(AP) - Firefighters have installed the top of the Sistine Chapel chimney that will signal to the world that a new pope has been elected, while construction workers were preparing the chapel interior for the start of the papal conclave Tuesday.            

For such an important decision, the chimney is an awfully simple affair: a century-old cast iron stove where ballot papers are burned, with a copper pipe out the top that snakes up the Sistine's frescoed walls, out the window and onto the chapel roof.            

After years of confusion about whether the smoke was black (no pope) or white (pope), the Vatican in 2005 installed an auxiliary stove where fumigating cases are lit. The smoke from those cases - black or white - joins the burned ballot smoke out the chimney.  

Associated Press

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