After two rounds of voting Wednesday morning, the conclave still could not come to an agreement on who the next leader of the Catholic Church should be. Jason Horowitz and Anthony Faiola reported:

After the first vote Tuesday evening, traditionally a sort of test case to measure support and float favorite candidates, Wednesday’s balloting was expected to provide an opportunity for alliances to begin to take shape.

Black smoke poured from the chapel’s chimney at 11:40 a.m. local time (6:40 a.m. Eastern) signaling that neither of the two morning votes had produced a winner. The 115 voting cardinals then adjourned for lunch and a break, and will reconvene about 4:30 p.m. (11:30 a.m. Eastern).

The Rev. Frederico Lombardi, a Vatican spokesman, told reporters that the cardinals may smoke and drink wine at Casa Santa Marta, their residential quarters, during their breaks. More importantly for the political deliberations underway, they are also allowed to talk and visit one another’s rooms.

No one bloc of cardinals — organized around passport or priorities — is large enough on its own to generate the two-thirds majority required to push a candidate through. To win, one of the candidates (reported front-runners include Cardinals Angelo Scola of Italy, Marc Ouellet of Canada and Odilo Pedro Scherer of Brazil) will need to consolidate support from a diverse cross section of electors. And if consensus remains elusive, the cardinals could look to the less familiar names in their college, which is what happened when John Paul II was chosen in 1978.

Among those watching closely for the white smoke signifying a new pope is former NBA star Dennis Rodman. Cindy Boren wrote:

Evidently it isn’t easy to get this diplomacy thing out of your blood.

Fresh from meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Eun, the former NBA player told TMZ that he has flown to Rome, hoping to meet the new pope. But Rodman had better be prepared to cool his heels for a while. So far, there has been nothing but black smoke from the Sistine Chapel chimney, signifying that the cardinals have not chosen Benedict XVI’s successor.

“I want to be anywhere in the world that I’m needed,” Rodman, whose press agent said he planned to appear today in St. Peter’s Square in something resembling a “Popemobile,” told TMZ. “I want to spread a message of peace and love throughout the world.”

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is also keeping a close eye on the proceedings, but from afar. According to Elizabeth Tenety:

The Rev. Thomas Rosica, deputy Vatican spokesman, told “CBS This Morning” that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was watching the conclave proceedings on television, including coverage of Masses and processions.

“What do retired popes do?” pondered Rosica. “They want to see what’s happening at the home office.”

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