Three sizes of robes are ready for the new pope, hand-sewn by a shop that has dressed every pope since Pius XII.
Actually, I was not busted attempting to infiltrate the looming conclave. Instead, I was part of a group of journalists who were given a tour of the Sistine Chapel this morning, where the 115 cardinal electors will begin the business of picking a new pope on Tuesday.
Here, I’m playing Vanna White by showing off the famous stove where the ballots from each round of voting will be burned. Vatican briefing materials say this particular stove was first used in 1939, and the year and month of each conclave it’s witnessed are engraved on the top:
Almost three weeks since Benedict announced his resignation, one would think that at least a couple of front runners would have surfaced by now.
Papabile of the day: There is a discernible buzz growing around Cardinal Francisco Robles Ortega of Guadalajara, Mexico.
The regulations for balloting are very detailed to eliminate any suspicion of electoral fraud—no hanging chads here. According to the 1996 constitution Universi Dominici Gregis (“Of the Lord’s Whole Flock”) of John Paul II, three “scrutineers” (vote counters) are chosen by lot from the electors, with the least senior cardinal deacon drawing the names.
In the 13th century the papacy was vacant for a year and a half before the election of Innocent IV and for three and a half years before the installation of Gregory X. In the first case the election was finally forced by the senate and people of Rome, who locked up the cardinals until a pope was chosen in 1243. In the second case, the people of Viterbo in 1271 not only locked the cardinals in, but tore off the roof of the building and put the cardinals on a diet of bread and water. The word “conclave” comes from the Latin, “with a key,” as in locked with a key.
Now that the college of cardinals has decided to start the conclave on Tuesday, March 12, what are they going to do?
You just don’t have to be in Rome anymore to know the moment there’s a new pope.
The advent of radio and television allowed people to hear and see the news minutes after the smoke rose from the Sistine Chapel.
And now, of course, there’s an app.
There are actually numerous apps, but one with a simple name is the Conclave mobile app. Created by Logos Bible Software, it offers instant access to the latest developments in Rome to the on-the-go, conclave curious.
The Washington Post published a longish feature on the noted press people, Vaticanisti, covering the conclave.
NCR's John Allen is described as "one of the sharpest and most wired."
Keep tuned into this page for his reports.
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.