The Italian Environmental Agency has notified the Vatican that it is no longer permitted to discharge any smoke into the atmosphere when announcing the election of a new Pope. For over a hundred years, the Vatican electors have emitted black smoke from its central chimney inside the Sistine Chapel, in order to send the message to the faithful that no selection has yet been made. Later, as a new Pontiff is chosen the smoke is changed to white and the world knows a new Cardinal has been elevated. According to the new edict the Holy See will not be permitted to fire up the smoke because of stricter anti-pollution laws within the confines of The Vatican. Spokesman for the Church, Cardinal Jozeph Nitche said in a prepared statement, “We are shocked and saddened that the government has attempted to step on the traditions of the church in such a blatant way.” “The College of Cardinals and the Holy Father are deeply saddened by these developments.”
Guisueppi Girbaldi, head of the IEA said, “though we understand the position of the church in this matter, we must enforce the laws of the state in regards to the pollution of our air.” “We can not allow the church to violate government ordinances in this way.”
It is expected that the church will have to find a new method to announce the election of a Pope. “Perhaps, we will release doves, shoot off a cannon, or have a plane fly around with the message in tow.” “We are not happy but, we intend to comply with the law,” said Cardinal Nitche.