World Bulletin / News Desk
The College of Cardinals will gather at the Sistine Chapel to begin the conclave and select the 266th pope on Tuesday. Following Pope Benedict XVI ending his pontificate by resigning on his own will for the first time after 598 years and The Vatican's announcement of "Seda Vacante", the Conclave concerning 1.2 billion Catholics closely will begin on Tuesday.
The morning the conclave is set to begin, all the cardinals will take part in a mass 'Pro Eligendo Papa' - for electing the pope - celebrated in St. Peter's Basilica.
The same afternoon, the cardinals will assemble in the Pauline Chapel inside the Apostolic Palace, and after a few prayers and hymns, will process into the Sistine Chapel.
A total of 115 elector-cardinals, all aged under 80, from 48 countries in five continents are set to take part in a series of ballots which continue until one man receives a two-thirds majority, or 77 votes. If there is no winner in the 33rd round, the cardinals may decide to proceed to election by majority, or to take the two names with the largest number of votes in the previous round and decide between them by a majority vote.
When a pope is elected, the ballots are burned immediately. By tradition, the ballots are burned dry to produce white smoke when a pope has been elected; they are burned with damp straw or other chemicals to produce black smoke when the voting has been inconclusive.
Following the white smoke, the senior cardinal deacon will make the announcement for which the Catholic world has been waiting. He will step out onto the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica, and say; 'Habemus papam' ("We have a pope.") and then will reveal the pope's identity.
The new pope will be led down the Hall of Blessings to the central window of the Basilica of St. Peter's. He will step forward, accept the cheers, and deliver his first greeting to the people in St. Peter's Square.
The Conclave lasted as long as 2 years and 9 months in the past whereas the longest was five days in the last century.
Amongst the most mentioned cardinals for the position of Pope are Italy's Angelo Scola, Brazil's Odilo Pedro Scherer, Canada's Marc Ouellet, USA's Sean O'Malley and Timothy Dolan.Last Mod: 12 Mart 2013, 11:57