Papal conclave to vote for new pope starting Tuesday, March 12, Vatican announces

By on Mar 9, 2013 in Europe, World Comments

Updated: March 14, 2013 3:15 a.m.

Read New pope elected, white smoke seen from Sistine Chapel chimney (Video)

The papal conclave that will elect a new pope will start early next week, Vatican announced this Friday. The next pope will be replacing Benedict XVI, who resigned from his post effective February 28, 2013, citing “lack of strength of mind and body” due to his old age at 85.

College of Cardinals

College of Cardinals
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As posted at on Friday, the eighth General Congregation of the College of Cardinals has decided that the Conclave will begin on Tuesday, March 12, 2013. A “pro eligendo Romano Pontifice” Mass will be held in St. Peter’s Basilica in the morning, and the 115 cardinal-electors will enter into the Conclave in the afternoon.

According to CNN, two cardinal-electors who are under 80 years old and are eligible to elect for the next pope will not attend the conclave. They are Julius Riyadi Darmaatmadja of Indonesia and Keith O’Brien of Scotland. Darmaatmadja cited health reasons, while O’Brien cited personal reasons.

Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi noted that the chimney will be used to send a smoke that will indicate if a new pope has been elected, which is expected to be seen over the Sistine Chapel on Friday, March 15. A black smoke means no pope has been chosen, while a white smoke means there is already a new pope.

In earlier years, conclaves usually happen at least 15 days and not more than 20 days after a pope dies or leaves office. However, Benedict XVI changed the rules in his last days of his papacy, and allowed an earlier start. The cardinal-electors will cast four ballots each day privately in closed doors.

So far, none of the cardinals can be said as a front runner to be the next pope. Nevertheless, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of the Philippines has been famous recently. Tagle, 55, who was elevated to cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI last November in Vatican, will be the first Asian pope, in case he will be elected.

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