Aug. 25, 1978: First Televised Papal Conclave

Archive: 1st Televised Conclave
21:34 | 03/11/13

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Transcript for Aug. 25, 1978: First Televised Papal Conclave
Vatican City the unique Catholic state within the city of -- We're here today to witness the beginning of a unique and ultra secret process to select a successor to Pope Paul the six who died nineteen days ago. In those intervening days the cardinals of the church from around the world have gathered here in Vatican City. And today will enter under lock and key to what -- called a conclave and begin the process of looking for a man to succeed him to become the next Pope. A word of description perhaps about the -- conclave it comes from the laughing with key it stems particularly from the year 1216. When the cardinals of the -- were gathered to elect the new hope the people outside thought they were taking too long and so they literally lock them up. To hasten the process that tradition in the intervening years has never changed. It's a colorful ceremony which were going to witness this afternoon for the first time. And so we hope you'll stay with us as the cardinals go from one chapel into the famous Sistine Chapel to find the new leader of the Roman Catholic Church. Parker -- on good morning from Washington as Peter has explained -- we are about to witness the beginning of an ancient and solemn event. The election of the 263. Successor to saint Peter the -- of the Roman Catholic Church. Tradition is an all in the election of the -- But there -- a new element to today's event for the first time the ceremonies opening the conclave of the college of cardinals are being televised around the world. We shall witnessed the procession we -- part of it here. Of the cardinals all 111 -- -- to the Sistine Chapel where the balloting will take place unfortunately we shall not be permitted to witness the actual voting back to Rome. And my colleague Peter Jennings good morning Peter. Thank frank -- good morning again patent settlement you're looking at him -- background of your picture. You don't want to -- very keep you in no way he is the master of ceremony today for the 111. Cardinals. Who gathered here in Vatican City from around the world and hopes hold just nineteen days ago. Emphasis there amounts in the Pauline chapel in Vatican City and Seton hall and chapel built in 1538. This is in the embassy in danger of entering the conclave of entering an ultra secrecy -- It is now officially put guns. To begin with -- -- position here grown let me introduce. Who now familiar voices field. From the society of -- is the assistant general. Father Vincent O'Keefe from Jersey City, New Jersey other people like to work to again. But -- and a long. Extremely excellent broadcaster Bob Trout. And I'm privileged to be here to watch the -- -- -- -- -- would you look at some of the we're inevitable example -- into the late afternoon at home. Very hot day. I am the actual procession from the Pauline chapel well -- Royal. Let -- go into the fifties was going to be -- the background here. Okay. Okay. Okay. Okay. I remember hearing the required couple named after being. Hope that -- support bringing. Which will continue well this day -- only those -- left. Inspirational him. Who then leave 111 cardinals on their way from the Pauline chapel into the Sistine Chapel and these extraordinarily. Important. Political and spiritual. Liberation front who the next Pope will be. The -- Very vulnerable people. Did he didn't put the nation now beginning -- -- food and being held oh. -- -- -- -- -- -- He had in the -- of everything. Long night in the Italian cardinal -- and directly behind them the -- from the ceremony. Cardinal but true now packing and look at the candidate. And the -- Egypt cardinal. -- -- -- -- -- -- behind him called him apparently from Vienna. He never seen before on television. You can back with the agreement for a role reversal here. -- encouragement of the American cardinal here. Particular portion of the ceremony -- be seen throughout the world part of the church's efforts to further involve people. In the process of electing -- new part of. -- told -- imminently close to let the screen is -- affected. -- the government of the Vatican palace we'll have a role to play in the closing of the congress. And they leave the Pauline chapel walk out -- Move him to a place where we have -- before -- coming over Egypt to get another extraordinarily important equal. This group coverage of the -- royal group on both called it is this particular incident is being used. As a passageway. All in trouble for a profession formed. And travel. -- 111 Carter. He'll become the -- currently. You may notice that the -- that had been wearing the director. We've seen that the patient the cardinals may have recognized Clinton would come -- from Africa. -- would probably approve of it on television. Pulled -- no one of them would benefit oil. Ohio reaches -- -- True again and beaten the most numerous we had Atlantis -- was -- Now we have a -- quite content. You know would now back. That was taken part of -- but in the vicinity of the night. Okay. Like if you. The jury that these cardinals elect the man from her own -- Imminently likely. Influence -- who live from around the world eight cardinal the united -- -- from -- -- -- nineteen from Latin America very strong and influential block of 24 from Western Europe. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Lately which for many years of the largest. Longer have a single largest group. Information call from after. Everybody didn't believe him. Oh okay. Okay. Following this thing. Spiritually moving occasion and one. -- -- -- -- so what's in your view is likely going through their mind. -- I think they're very concerned about. -- -- -- -- You -- some of -- people doing that we could that they had made up their mind before going get. But that Bill Clinton appeared -- Wheaton community who -- And divine time. Not something. Many of -- hundred we. Call -- over Philadelphia region. Forcefully on how. Important divine guidance -- that they go through this procession today. I think it is then we can cardinal Kim the Korean alongside cardinal -- Chilling New York the national quality of the cardinals will certainly not be alone in this. Closed environment which were not in itself be confined to the -- chapel -- will be. A fairly large area inside Vatican City. We -- among other things an opportunity to walk outdoors at least one large courtyard. They will be locked up with. Nuns from a -- hotel here in Vatican City who will cook for them. -- -- -- -- You're the colonel was a lot of -- here -- And these series of attendant who run the business of the currently. Because we have no idea how long it would take. Aren't we know once we let. But let's -- civic group along with -- -- I am cardinal within Paula and because they look that -- -- we hear in the background report that should be good scores were up for the roof and -- over. -- -- towards the lead over a hundred feet 65 lead but don't. Okay. Part of -- part of it -- on the moving to put station not completed that. But one thing entity the chapel. The -- -- -- and kept them on that in. Carbon -- -- -- being one of the better known -- The small -- Let me know if caught without the -- -- By the Jessica. One of our -- three casual -- will present. Okay. A. Okay. Not only politically. But particularly clear. I think of other rookies it is very. Point now all of -- going into the conclave itself there is no favorite. -- -- -- Short lived -- We're finding value perhaps wondered who wanted. -- that they've entered Jim. -- -- -- Perhaps no one of them. Who will emerge some days from now. That seemed to -- the -- again. People talk about five foot six like. The school runs straight across the -- -- of football. Get through the Corsica for one's -- opening and you may have noticed -- -- that he helped. -- that valid reason and into the Chapel Hill. Fifteen -- probably the most without question the most beautiful chapel in Vatican City -- him. Veers between 1475. -- -- dedicated to the assumption of the virgin -- And even today it will help borrowers a lot of which cover about we'll hear what -- -- -- -- In the distance behind the cruelty. To great work. -- -- -- -- -- Okay let cool for -- on -- the cardinal. Revealing. Deals. One. And the conclave there are only. -- -- -- living and dying. Cardinal the exiled cardinal. -- -- The doctors -- helping the cardinals twelve square -- man is picking up. And monthly. Each one of these articles. The -- -- -- -- orders and ignored the cardinals to their. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- You know we'll. Right. This group singing that that there -- him to the holy spirit. And to -- Google will be directing the conclave. Who is left is my opinion no way you would -- that ceremony. Okay. Okay. Right. Nearly all around me. -- I didn't know tomorrow morning. Ballots and help each morning and will be hell -- afternoon. And -- Away. -- -- -- Pending -- spoke -- with five the rest of the world whether they have -- -- one. -- -- -- -- And you that the ambivalent you don't -- old -- proclaimed the payment at the pump. Old should leave the chapel. And they begin to leave. The capital including him -- -- kind of national television coverage you catch a quick glimpse of the so there. On the left in which develops will be burned. Having helped black smoke -- the people has not been elected. And sending up white smoke -- the Pope has. Been elected. -- initially told stove or reconditioned so they actually lost the original one. And there you see chemical containers to make absolutely sure that the -- comes -- white or black on previous occasions. There has been some -- them so they had -- chemical. To it to make up to be sure the the covers are correct. And so with the wirdzek comments everybody the doors of the Sistine Chapel. It is -- -- who himself. -- successor they look for who -- this. Secrecy who had a passion for it I think it is most -- father -- that they begin this. Format -- -- that there will be any deviation from that -- I think you have to wait for the smoke to wake him again. Collection of the most magnificent circumstances and for -- But an election -- of the world times over. With the closing of those great wooden doors the Sistine Chapel our attention now turns for the results of the cardinals deliberations -- the single chimney here in Vatican City. There was no electronic device by which the cardinals will signal their decisions the world it will be simply by the color of smoke. When black smoke comes out of a chimney we will know that the process to elect a new Pope has not been completed and no single man has won two thirds of the votes -- the cardinals present. When the smoke emerges white we in the rest of the world will know that a new Pope has been elected. He will momentarily then choose a new name and shortly after that appear on the people balcony to give his first blessing as part of to the thousands of people here and throughout the world. We have no idea how long it will take it has been a suspense full week with a locking of those stores the suspense simply heightens.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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