Papal Conclave 2013 Begins Today To Select A New Pope


Last week we learned that The Sistine Chapel was closed to the public so that preparations for the election of a new pope could begin at the Vatican. Over the weekend, it was announced that TODAY was the day that the Papal Conclave would begin deliberations to select the next pope. In just a few hours, the Catholic cardinals of the world will be locked inside the Santa Marta residence until they can select the next pope. Some people believe that the next pope could be decided by the weekend so, very soon, all eyes will be on the smoke signals coming from the Papal Conclave for news of their progress (colored smoke means no pope has been chosen, white smoke means we have a winner). Whether or not you have a vested interest in the selection of the next pope you have to admit that something like this is extremely newsworthy and interesting.

The work to choose a successor to retired Benedict XVI begins in earnest Tuesday, as the cardinals charged with the task prepare to be locked away in a secret election, or conclave, in Vatican City. One of their number will almost certainly emerge from the process as the new spiritual leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics. Just a few hours after moving into Santa Marta, their residence at the Vatican for the duration of the process, the 115 cardinals who will choose the new pope took part in a morning Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica. They processed into St. Peter’s, clad in scarlet robes, for a service in which they prayed for guidance in making a choice that could be crucial to the future direction of a church rocked by scandal in recent years. Members of the public waited in long lines Tuesday morning to join the Mass, which was open to all. As the service began, the morning’s brilliant sunshine came to an abrupt end, with the skies letting loose thunder, lightning and a torrential downpour. Applause echoed round St. Peter’s as Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, offered thanks for the “brilliant pontificate” of Benedict XVI, whose shock resignation precipitated the selection of a new pope. Sodano’s homily focused on a message of love and unity, calling on all to cooperate with the new pontiff in the service of the church. “My brothers, let us pray that the Lord will grant us a pontiff who will embrace this noble mission with a generous heart,” he concluded. In the afternoon, the 115 cardinal-electors — those younger than 80 who are eligible to vote — will go to the Pauline Chapel for further prayers. They will then walk to the Sistine Chapel, chanting prayers as they go, to begin the secret election called the conclave. The doors will be locked behind them, and after that the only clue the world will have of what is happening inside will be periodic puffs of smoke from a copper chimney installed in the chapel over the weekend. Black smoke, no pope. White smoke, success.

Honestly, as a student of History, I cannot help but be intrigued by all of this ceremony. It’s really interesting to me that this special selection process has been happening for centuries and here we are again, at the election of a new pope. I honestly have no idea who the candidates are but as I understand it, there is a possibility that the world will get the first African pope. I think that would be awesome. I also understand that Cardinal Timothy Dolan from NYC is in the running as well. If YOU would like to know the exact moment when the Papal Conclave selects the next pope, you can sign up to be alerted at I guess the time is now to pray that the next pope elected into office will work toward a world of INCLUSION rather than exclusion.


  • LiQue

    auditions for the next “Vatican Idol” starts in 5… 4… 3… 2… 1…

  • Krissy

    I am soooo tired of pope coverage! My local news channel has 3 reporters over there, and I am just so over it. I understand a lot of people take this very seriously, but it is about one denomination of one religion! Not even all Christians follow the pope.

    I understand the coverage to a certain extent, but the minute-by-minute coverage, talking about cardinals like they are beauty pagent contestants, it is starting to be obnoxious. (I seriously heard, “Here is Cardinal so-and-so from the Philippines, helping an elderly Cardinal like a Boy Scout. Here is Cardinal so-and-so from Italy, he has a spry step as he makes his way to the conference.”

    • @Krissy — I feel you but really, this is is historic news. Expect to be inundated with info until the next pope is selected.

    • Krissy

      I know it is a big deal for the Catholic Church, but I feel like this is another case of the media picking one story and beating it into the ground. I feel like mass news organizations get lazy, and it is easier to over-hype on one story than to root out more important items. The more of their time they spend on this, the less they need to spend on other items. News did start out as a public service for free broadcast space, afterall.

      (And I am not criticising your choice to post this story…at least you haven’t been doing one a day for the past week! ;) )

    • @Krissy — I get it and I totally feel you. This is an easy story for the news to focus on. It’s like the Royal Wedding, much ado about something that doesn’t really affect everyone. Even still, and I honestly could personally care less, I am a bit interested to see this process in action.

    • JCZ

      It’s not that mass news organisations are lazy, it’s that they are pro-Christian. We could have seen more coverage and pressure on governments years ago against the Catholic Church for their sexual abuse coverups on children, but of course the media do not take any responsibility to be fair, non-biased and report stuff that is truly relevant to the public.

      We can delve very deep into the issue, but you only have to look at reporting of the “Afghanistan War” that “continues to this day” (which it does not). If the media really used their educated minds to practice (or the public didn’t heavily rely on them for “facts”), people would understand that US soldiers and others are fighting in the war for Pashtunistan – an ethnic group seeking independence from Pakistan and also reclaim territory between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Unfortunately the media twist the facts (not just Fox news believe it or not) to make this war be all about Islam, yet it’s not about religion.

      Anyway, Western media associates Christianity as healthy and others, especially Islam, as not. It’s all biased and that is why there is so much coverage over this, over the Royal Wedding etc. In the end, the papacy is totally irrelevant IMO. It may have some influence is certain parts of Europe, Africa and also Asia, but overall their decisions and ideologies are far outdated and ignorant. It’s all politics after all – and whilst they may bring in someone less conservative to savour their precious fellowship, I think people are becoming more socially aware that governments and religions have no right to dictate their lives like they once claimed.