College of Cardinals to Begin Conclave Tuesday
The College of Cardinals will begin the conclave to select a new pope on Tuesday. There are indication the group is going into this meeting with a list of preferences. The group has been meeting all week to discuss issues facing the world’s largest organized religion, and the qualities the successor to Benedict XVI must have.
A Vatican spokesman says the pre-conclave deliberations are “absolutely fundamental” to consensus building. A two-thirds majority of the group is needed to elect a new pope. No conclave has lasted longer than five days in the last century.
Benedict was elected on the fourth round of voting in 2005, just one day after the conclave began. Prior to him, in 1978, John Paul II was elected on the eighth ballot. That was three days after the cardinals began the conclave.
Tuesday will begin with a morning Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica, and then a procession into the Sistine Chapel. There, the cardinals will cast the first round of ballots in the afternoon.
Black smoke seen rising from the chapel chimney signifies that they have not successfully chosen a new pope, and the group will adjourn for the day. They will reconvene on Wednesday, with two potential votes in the morning and two in the afternoon until a new pope is chosen. White smoke billowing from the chapel chimney is a sign that they have selected a successor for Benedict XVI.