The last millennium has shown that papal elections can be fraught with politics and can take months of wrangling to reach a resolution.
Three sizes of robes are ready for the new pope, hand-sewn by a shop that has dressed every pope since Pius XII.
Rome: Voting for the new pope will begin Tuesday, the Vatican has announced. No clear consensus has emerged among the church's cardinals for the new pontiff.
While only cardinals can actually vote on the next pontiff, various online outlets offer ways for others to get involved in the conclave, as well.
Dispatches from Rome: It’s become abundantly clear this week that governance -- or, if one prefers, business management -- of the Vatican is a titanic concern.
Rome dispatch: I have learned in Rome that life goes on. However imperfect, the church carries the faithful through their days.
Papabile of the day: Brazilian Cardinal João Bráz de Aviz: a gentle and compassionate figure who favors dialogue may not have the grit it takes to be pope.
Rome dispatch: Until Wednesday, the cardinals from the United States were talking to the press every day. Now they're no longer allowed.
Pope Benedict XVI's successor will take over the rocky relationship with the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X.
Benedict stands in a long line of popes whose teachings challenge both the political left and right, but conservatives found more challenge and less solace from Rome.