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Sistine Chapel fitted with chimney as Vatican prepares for conclave (PHOTOS)


Members of the Vatican Fire Brigade install the chimney on the top of the Sistine chapel which will emit smoke as cardinals vote for a new pope on March 9, 2013 in Vatican City, Vatican.


Christopher Furlong

The Sistine Chapel has been fitted with a chimney by firefighters, as the Vatican gears up for the Tuesday conclave that will decide the next pope. 

Roman Catholic cardinals are streaming into the Vatican ahead of the monumental vote, which will be broadcast to the public via smoke signals.

The chimney will emanate white smoke when they have selected Pope Benedict XVI's successor, BBC News reported. Dark smoke means more discussions and votes need to be held. 

Two stoves have been installed: one to burn the cardinals' votes, the other to send up the signal, according to CNN. There are also plans for a spotlight to illuminate the smoke, whether the signal is good or bad. 

Rev. Federico Lombardi, a Vatican spokesman, said that the suspense leading up to the decision is all part of the "beauty" of the process. 

“We’re not going to send out text messages or SMS messages, you’ll have to come and see,” another Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Thomas Rosica, told the Associated Press

While the Sistine Chapel's interior and exterior is being prepped for the monumental vote, Benedict’s fisherman’s ring and the personal seals and stamps for official paper were also being destroyed, signaling the official end of his rule, according to the AP. 

Benedict stepped down suddenly last month, the first pope to do so in over 600 years, citing his failing health as impeding his ability to lead the world's 1.2 million Catholics. 

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