Vatican City (10.3.2013) – The conclave to select the next leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics will begin this coming Tuesday 12 March 2013, Vatican officials said Friday, capping a week of meetings among cardinals that created a stir over leaks and an eventual media blackout.
Now that the date is set for the start of the conclave — Latin for “with key,” referring to the voters being locked inside the Sistine Chapel — the 115 cardinals will move into the Domus Santa Marta, a modest five-story building tucked securely behind Vatican walls that features 106 suites, 22 single rooms and one apartment.
After morning prayers Tuesday, the first balloting could take place that afternoon, says the Rev. Thomas Reese, analyst for the National Catholic Reporter and author of Inside the Vatican: The Politics and Organization of the Catholic Church.
“That first vote is at their discretion, which is about the only optional thing on the agenda,” Reese says. “But when they’re not voting, there will be lots of talks outside of the Sistine Chapel, in rooms and at dinner. Names will bubble up that will be tested in the conclave.”
There will be four votes per day. In 2005, it took two days to select Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as the next pope. Reese says he doubts this one will last longer than three or four days, noting that the last time a conclave lasted more than four days was in 1831.
At Holy Cross, we will be praying every day from Monday 11 March 2013, during the 6.30pm evening mass, for the Church, the conclave and the election of the new Pope, until the new Pope is elected. You are invited to join us in prayer at this critical time for the Church.
Briefing on the 8th and 9th General Congregation of the College of Cardinals
(See Video – Vatican 9.3.2013)