National/World

White smoke or black smoke? Maybe a text message is better

Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Cardinals Jean-Baptiste Pham Minh Man, of Vietnam was escorted as he arrived for a meeting, at the Vatican, Thursday, March 7, 2013. The cardinals didnt set a date for the start of the conclave, and the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said he didnt expect a decision to be taken in Thursdays afternoon session. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

White smoke or black smoke? Maybe it's easier just to wait for a text message that a new pope has been elected.

A Catholic organization has set up a website, www.popealarm.com, that lets people register to receive a text or email notification when a pope has been selected.

While the process of selecting a new pope is as old as the ages, there are enough changes to the media to make the last papal conclave -- in 2005 -- seem like ancient history.

The text service was set up by the Fellowship of Catholic University Students, or FOCUS, and had proven so popular with more than 40,000 respondents that the popealarm website said Monday it was accepting no new registrants. The site hopes to increase its capacity before the cardinals begin voting, said Jeremy Rivera, spokesman for the Christian campus ministry.

"When the smoke goes up, you'll know what's going down" is the website's motto.

Tom Koch and Art Rascon are in Rome and will have the very latest on this developing story on Eyewitness News and abc13.com.
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papal conclave, pope, pope benedict XVI, national/world
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