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.
Journalism 101 teaches you to put your article’s bold claim at top, so people will pay attention, and then qualify it to death later if you must.
So, here’s my bold claim: Against all odds, the American cardinals are emerging as the anti-establishment insurgents of the 2013 conclave.
I say “against all odds” because it’s become conventional wisdom that over the last twenty years, the goalposts within the U.S. bishops’ conference have shifted to the right, towards defense of church teaching and tradition rather than accommodating secular mores.
Rome: The church's cardinals will vote next week for the new pope, the Vatican has announced. The starting date of the conclave will be known Friday afternoon.
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.
A domain name of a website of information on clergy sex abuse cases has been blocked on the Vatican's web servers. A spokesman said it could be due to an automatic filter.
Rome dispatch: I have learned in Rome that life goes on. However imperfect, the church carries the faithful through their days.
Over the last few weeks, John L. Allen Jr. has been profiling cardinals who are frequently touted as papabile, or men who could be pope. These are the names drawing the most buzz in the lead-up to the conclave. Below are links, sorted by the cardinals' last name, to all of his papabili profiles. We will update this list as John writes more features, and don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @JohnLAllenJr.
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.
Young Voices: When was the last time a man with a beard headed the church? Who's the most forgotten pope? These answers and more.
John Allen in Rome: While we wait for a conclave start date, here are three fresh developments you should be aware of.