Cardinals ready to vote

10/01/2019 Posted by admin

They’ll remain there, isolated from the rest of the world, resting, eating and meeting between votes, until they choose their new leader.

Last week the 115 cardinals involved drew lots to determine which of the 106 suites and 23 individual rooms they would occupy.

The ultra-secretive, ritual-filled voting process known as a conclave, will be held in the Sistine Chapel, under Michelangelo’s frescoes of Bible scenes including the creation panel depicting the finger of God and the finger of Adam nearly touching.

The cardinals will vote up to four times a day and after every three days, voting is suspended for a day.

To win, a candidate needs a two-thirds majority, or at least 77 votes. After 33 or 34 ballots, cardinals can decide to switch to a majority vote.

Votes are cast on papers printed with the Latin words “Eligo in Summum Pontificem” (“I choose as Supreme Pontiff”).

The ballots are later burned and smoke pours from a makeshift chimney above the Sistine Chapel.

Black smoke marks an inconclusive vote while white smoke and the tolling of the bells of St Peter’s Basilica mark the election of a pope.

Additives are used to determine the colour of the smoke.

The Vatican has already draped a giant red velvet curtain in the Hall of Blessings, the window where the Pope greets pilgrims below in St Peter’s Square.

It’s here the declaration “Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum. Habemus Papam!” (“I announce to you great joy. We have a pope!”) will ring out once the new leader of the world’s 1.1 billion Roman Catholics has been chosen.

The new pope will later steps forward to deliver his first public address and his first “Urbi et Orbi” (“To the city and the world”) blessing.

All the cardinals involved and Vatican workers have taken an oath of secrecy, making the job of tipping who will succeed Pope John Paul II difficult.

But analysts say two main contenders, German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and Italy’s Carlo Maria Martini, are emerging as favourites.

While neither is expected to attract the two-thirds majority needed to win the election, they may be highly influential in the eventual decision in a conclave which is likely to last several days.

Adding to the air of mystery and intrigue, the cardinals have put off a decision on whether to begin voting on Monday afternoon.

Under the strict rules for choosing his successor laid down by John Paul II himself in 1996, cardinals would normally be expected to begin voting at 1430 GMT on the first day of the conclave.

However, indications are that the prelates, who have been meeting frequently since the pope’s death on April 2, are still unclear about the rules contained in the Apostolic Constitution.

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