Inauguration of Pope Francis

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Date Set for Conclave - Latest Update from the Vatican

Last updated at 2013-03-10 6:43AM

By Katrina Lee, Director of Communications, Archdiocese of Sydney

The date for the conclave to elect the next Pope has been announced. It will be next Tuesday 12 March.

One hundred and fifteen Cardinals will decide in the Conclave who will be the next Successor to St Peter.

The eighth General Congregation voted on the date at the afternoon session on Friday.

On Tuesday the Cardinals will celebrate a "Pro eligendo Romano Pontiface" (For the Electing of a Pontiff) Mass in St Peter's Basilica before moving to Domus Santa Martha, their residence for the duration of the Conclave.

The actual Conclave in the Sistine Chapel will then begin Tuesday morning Rome time or Tuesday night Sydney time.

The Cardinals's rooms are a lot, drawn by ballot which ensures equality.

When the Cardinals file into the magnificent Sistine Chapel they will know one of them will be the next spiritual leader of 1.2 billion Catholics and that person's life will be forever changed.

Two votes will be cast in the morning and afternoon until there is a two-thirds majority and the next Pope is elected.

This process could continue for a number of days however many issues have been discussed by the Cardinals during the General Congregation and meetings and meals amongst themselves so many in Rome believe the conclave will not necessarily be a long one - perhaps two or thee days.

During the Congregation the wide range of issues discussed include bio-ethics, inter-religious dialogue,contemporary culture, justice in the world,love and mercy, collegiality, the role of women in the Church and the sexual abuse scandal.

However the Cardinals early on decided on a "media blackout" - although some Italian media outlets have reported information which has led to new claims of Vatileaks.

Many of the Cardinals will celebrate mass in their titular churches in and on the outskirts of Rome this Sunday, including Cardinal Pell.

Predicting the new Pope by media outlets and commentators is now the hot topic. Many see the front-runners as Cardinal Angelo Scola, the Archbishop of Milan; Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture and President of the Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archaeology; Cardinal Odilo Scherer' Archbishop of São Paulo; Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops and President of the Pontifical C omission for Latin America and Archbishop emeritus of Quebec; and Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, Archbishop of Genoa.

However what has also sparked great interest in the Eternal City are the possible contends for the other "top positions" like Secretary of State. Many Cardinals said quite openly before the General Congregation they believed it was time to re-visit governance and administration and strengthen and support the Curia. Some have even suggested a "new broom" to sweep the corridors of the Vatican.

Much time and talk, reflection and prayer has been spent during the Congregation so that when the world sees that puff of white smoke above the Sistine Chapel they will know at least 77 Cardinals believes one amongst them is the right man to lead the Catholic Church.

Perhaps, late next week 114 Cardinals will leave The Last Judgement and the Sistine Chapel to stand behind one man on the balcony who will be presented to the world as the next Holy Pontiff.

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Conclave Set to Begin Tuesday, March 12 - Video Update from Rome Reports

Last updated at 2013-03-09 3:48AM

Vatican Spokesperson Federico Lombardi announced the start of the conclave is set for Tuesday, March 12. It will be 12 days after Benedict XVI's resignation went into effect.

On Monday night, cardinal electors will have to move in to Domus Santa Marta. On Tuesday morning, all cardinals will celebrate the Pro Elegendo Papa mass, inside St. Peter's Basilica. Soon after, the voting age cardinals will have lunch at Santa Marta. Once finished, they will file inside the Sistine Chapel for the start of the voting process.

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Breaking News: Conclave to begin Tuesday March 12th

Published at 2013-03-08 6:50PM

The eighth General Congregation of the College of Cardinals meeting in the Vatican Synod Hall Friday has decided that the Conclave for the election of the Pope will begin on Tuesday, 12 March 2013.

A “pro eligendo Romano Pontifice” Mass will be celebrated in St. Peter’s Basilica in the morning. Then Tuesday afternoon the 115 Cardinal Electors will gather in the Pauline Chapel for a moment of collection and prayer and from there they will process in order of precedence through the Sala Regia to the Sistine Chapel invoking the Holy Spirit.

Read more here:

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Papal Coat of Arms

Last updated at 2013-03-08 5:33AM

With the resignation of Benedict XVI the Vatican removed from its Web site his coat of arms. In its place is a coat of arms with the keys of the papacy and a sort of umbrella or canopy above the keys.

This coat of arms is used during the period when there is no pope and appears on Vatican documents, the masthead of the Vatican’s daily newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, and on stamps issued to commemorate this period.

The symbol of an umbrella was originally a sign of rank and honour, reserved for important people. A red and yellow umbrella has been connected with the papacy for centuries, going back to the time when umbrellas or canopies were a way of showing the honour and importance of dignitaries.

The umbrella on the coat of arms during this period of the sede vacante is a sign of the Church awaiting her new pontiff.

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Sistine Chapel gets ready, historic chimney brought in for Conclave

Last updated at 2013-03-08 5:31AM

The Sistine Chapel is getting ready for the Conclave. The team commissioned with preparing things has begun to set things up. Under the watchful eye of the Swiss Guards, wood panels were placed to protect the flooring from all the furniture that will be added in the following days.

A seamstress is also part of the team. Her role is to prepare the tablecloths that will cover the desks and tables.

The two stoves have also arrived. One will be used to burn the ballots and notes. The other will be used to emit the white or black smoke, to indicate if a Pope has been elected. Inscripted in one of the stoves are the conclave dates, in which this one stove has been used.

With thanks to

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