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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Cardinals Gather In Rome To Elect New Pope

Cardinals gathered in Rome to elect new Pope today, but there is no clear front runner in sight. The 115 cardinal-electors will attend a special Mass in the morning before processing into the Sistine Chapel to begin their delibrations in the afternoon. They will vote four times daily until two-thirds can agree on a candidate. The election was prompted by the surprise resignation of Bebedict XVI. The challenges of leading a church beset by problems ranging from the sexual abuse scandal to accusation of corruption at the Vatican Bank proved too much for the 85-year old now known as Pope emiritus, say correspondents. They now lie ahead for his successor, once he is elected. Tuesday morning will be dominated by the saying of the Mass" for the Election of the Supreme Pontiff", beginning at 1000 (0900 GMT) in St Peter's Basillica. In the afternoon, 115 cardinal-electors -all under 80, as those over 80 are excluded, will proceed into the Sistine Chappel for the secret conclave to select Benedict's successor. Once they have taken an oath of secrecy, Msgr Guido Mirini, papal master of ceremonies, will call out the words " Extra omnes" - "Everybody out" and the chapel doors will be locked to outsiders. The 85-year old Pope emiritus resigned on February 28, aftr eight years in office, citing ill-health. He was the first Pope in six cernturies to do so.

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