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College of Cardinals In Rome Set To Elect New Pope

Cardinals gathered in Rome to elect a new pope will begin voting later on Tuesday, with no clear frontrunner in sight.
The 115 cardinal-electors will attend a special Mass in the morning before processing into the Sistine Chapel to begin their deliberations 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 Benedict XVI. The challenges the Pope Benedict XVI face is too much as accuse of sexual abuse scandal to accusations of corruption at the too much for the 85-year-old now known as Pope emeritus, They now look ahead for his successor.

This morning (Tuesday) will be dominated by the saying of the Mass “for the Election of the Supreme Pontiff”, beginning at 10:00 (09:00 GMT) in St Peter’s Basilica, while In the afternoon, 115 cardinal-electors those one under 80 are only included, as those over 80 are excluded – will proceed into the Sistine Chapel for the secret conclave to select Benedict’s successor.

Once they have taken an oath of secrecy, Msgr Guido Marini, 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 emeritus resigned on 28 February after eight years in office, citing ill health. He was the first Pope in six centuries to do so.

His status was compounded by a strong sermon given during the pre-election mass, Though vote for his successor is expected to be much longer.

After 10 general congregations open to all cardinals, regardless of age – at which 160 cardinals spoke of the issues facing the faith.

Once they are all inside the Sistine Chapel on Tuesday, cardinals will listen to a meditation by elderly Maltese Cardinal Prosper Grech before they will hold the first votes, after which their ballot papers will be burned immediately after each votes.

The smoke that will drift out of the chapel’s chimney early in the evening is likely to be black – meaning no Pope has been elected, Then the smoke will be white, meaning the 266th bishop of Rome will have been chosen.

Extensive measures are taken to prevent details about the cardinals’ discussions over the next pope becoming public.

The Conclave are 115 in number as 115 Cardinal Electors are to be voting, while two thirds or 77 cardinals need to agree on papal candidate before new successor can be accepted by the Conclave.

From tomorrow (Wednesday) four votes would be cast every day two in the morning and two in the evening for the Conclave.

Though the chosen candidate would be among 266th Pope, which will only lead to one man victory at last.

The elected Pope will lead world’s about 1.2billion Catholics, but for now no Pope have not been convicted with sex scandal or any crime of such even Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger who look favourite.

The Secrets within are
1. It’s a lock-in. Conclave comes from the Latin “cum-clave” meaning literally “with key” – the cardinal-electors will be locked in the Sistine Chapel each day until Benedict XVI’s successor is chosen.

The tradition dates back to 1268, when after nearly three years of deliberation the cardinals had still not agreed on a new pope, prompting the people of Rome to hurry things up by locking them up and cutting their rations. Duly elected, the new pope, Gregory X, ruled that in future cardinals should be sequestered from the start of the conclave.

2.Spying is tricky. During the conclave they are allowed no contact with the outside the world – no papers, no TV, no phones, no Twitter. And the world is allowed no contact with them. The threat of excommunication hangs over any cardinal who breaks the rules

3.Portable loos play an essential role. Until 2005, the cardinals endured Spartan conditions in makeshift “cells” close to the Sistine Chapel.

They slept on hard beds and were issued with chamber pots. Pope John Paul II changed that with the construction of a five-storey 130-room guest house near St Peter’s – Domus Sanctae Marthae (St Martha’s House).

4.An “interregnum” is ending. The pontificate used to be known as a “reign” – hence the period between two popes being called an interregnum (“between reigns”).

Many of the regal trappings of the papacy were set aside by Pope Paul VI, who began his pontificate in 1963 with a coronation, but never wore the beehive-shaped papal tiara again.

5.Counted votes are sewn up. The cardinals hold one vote on day one and then two each morning and afternoon until a candidate wins a two-thirds majority. Each writes his choice on a slip of paper, in disguised handwriting, and folds it in half. Cardinals then process to the altar one by one and place the ballots in an urn.

6.Chemicals colour the smoke. Those 115 ballot papers produce an unusual amount of smok which pours out of a chimney specially installed on the roof of the Sistine Chapel.

A chemical is mixed with the paper to produce black smoke when voting is inconclusive, or white smoke when a pope has been elected. But even the white smoke looks dark against a bright sky, so to avoid any possible confusion, white smoke is accompanied by the pealing of bells.

In 2005, though, the official responsible for authorising the bells was temporarily occupied with other duties, so there was a period of confusion while white smoke billowed out, and the bells of St Peter’s remained silent

7.Robes are prepared in S, M and L. The Pope has to look the part when he is presented to the faithful from a balcony overlooking St Peter’s Square. So papal tailors Gammarelli prepare three sets of vestments – in small, medium and large sizes.

These will include a white cassock, a white silk sash, a white zucchetto (skullcap), red leather shoes and a red velvet mozzetta or capelet with ermine trim – a style revived by Benedict XVI.

The Pope dresses by himself, donning a gold-corded pectoral cross and a red embroidered stole. (Popes traditionally wore red, but in 1566 St Pius V, a Dominican, decided to continue wearing his white robes. Only the Pope’s red mozzetta, capelet and shoes remain from the pre-1566 days.)

8.Huge bets are laid. Experts suggest more than £10m ($15m) will be wagered as people guess which cardinal will get the nod – making this the world’s most bet-upon non-sporting event.

It’s not a new phenomenon. In 1503 betting on the pope was already referred to as “an old practice”. Pope Gregory XIV was so cheesed off that in 1591 he threatened punters with excommunication, but the gambling continues unabated. Prominent Italian and Latin American names currently lead the field.

9.Just say yes. Technically, an elected Pope can refuse to take up the position, but it’s not really done to turn down the Holy Spirit.

That said, few relish the prospect of leading the world’s largest Church, beset as it is at the moment with falling congregation numbers, sex abuse scandals and internal wrangling.

So many new popes are overcome with emotion after their election that the first room they enter, to dress for the balcony scene, is commonly known as the Room of Tears.

10. There is no gender test. Chairs with a large hole cut in the seat are sometimes thought to have been used to check the sex of a new Pope.

The story goes that the aim of the checks was to prevent a repeat of the scandal of “Pope Joan”, a legendary female cardinal supposedly elected pope in the 14th Century. Most historians agree that the Joan story is nonsense.

WatchingJumuah Abiodun

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