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Cardinals Begin Meetings as World Awaits New Pope

The Roman Catholic Church is preparing for a new Pope.

Cardinals met on Tuesday for the third time to discuss and hear speeches regarding the papacy. A Vatican spokesperson said that the Sistine Chapel, where the conclave traditionally meets to select the new pope, will be closed as of 1 p.m. on Tuesday.

Over the next few days, the cardinals will choose a starting date for the conclave to begin their deliberation. Of the cardinals who are under 80 (and thus are allowed to participate in the selection process), 107 have arrived in Rome to participate in the selection. Dozens of cardinals over the age of 80 have also arrived to participate in preliminary meetings.

The meetings of the cardinals began on Monday, four days after Benedict, now pope emeritus, went into seclusion after his resignation took effect Feb. 28 at 8 p.m.

The cardinals are sworn to secrecy during the meetings, but the Vatican has promised daily news conferences in an effort to be a little more open about the highly secretive process.

Before the gatherings, cardinals expressed in interviews details about what traits they would like to have in a new pope. Many have emphasized they’d like a strong, prayerful pope that can effectively represent and spread the Catholic message.

Yet, some have also expressed their desire to see a pope clean up the Vatican bureaucracy as a response to intense accusations of corruption. Others would like to see a third world pope because of the ‘vibrancy’ of Catholicism in the third world as opposed to western nations.

Cardinal Francis George of Chicago said that many of the cardinals wish to have a new pope before Palm Sunday on March 24, which is the start of the Holy Week. 

Source: New York Times


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