Category: 2-World

Benedict XVI's insignia are destroyed as the Sistine Chapel is modified for the conclave


Firefighters installed a special top on the Sistine Chapel chimney yesterday, ready for the signal to the world that a new pope has been elected, as the Vatican took measures to end Benedict XVI's pontificate.



Yesterday, for the sixth day running, cardinals met behind closed doors to discuss the problems of the church. Meanwhile, distinctly modern adaptations were being made to the Sistine Chapel. Begun in 1473 by Baccio Pontelli for Pope Sixtus IV, the chapel has frescoes by Michaelangelo, Botticelli and Ghirlandaio. Workers were staple-gunning felt carpeting to a wooden floor that has been laid over the chapel's precious marble designs, and signal-jamming devices were being tested. The equipment has been installed to prevent any mobile phone or eavesdropping devices from working.

However, to communicate the decisions of the 115 cardinals, the Sistine relies on simple technology: a 100-year-old cast iron stove burns their ballot papers beneath a humble chimney.

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