Papal Conclave To Begin Monday
VATICAN CITY (CBS) – Catholics around the world are now waiting to hear who their next leader will be. More than a hundred cardinals are gathered in Rome to elect a new pope after Benedict XVI stepped down.
The Papal apartment at the Vatican is now locked and sealed with wax until a new Pope is chosen. Vatican officials say the former Pope, now called Pope Emeritus, had a good night’s rest at a papal retreat south of Rome. They also talked about his new hobby.
“In the weeks leading up to his departure, the Pope played piano every evening after dinner. He has a piano in his apartment. You can probably be sure he’ll take up that habit again in Castel Gandolfo,” said Fr. Tom Rosica, Vatican Press Secretary.
Most of the 115 cardinals who will elect the next pope have arrived in Rome. They begin formal discussions Monday to decide when the actual voting begins. There are 11 American cardinals who could decide to vote as a block.
“I am a rookie at this. We have not gotten in discussions that would lead me to believe what anybody’s going to vote,” said Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York. “But I wouldn’t think so. I am sensing a remarkable liberty, sense of independence.”
Tourists and the faithful have formed a steady line outside of St. Peter’s Basilica just for the chance to get in. They understand the historical significance of this transition.
Benedict chose his former Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone to oversee day-to-day Vatican business until a new Holy Father is chosen. He will get help from three cardinal assistants who are chosen at random and replaced every three days until a new Pope is elected.