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It has been nearly a month since Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation to the world. Now the time has come to gather the conclave to elect a new pope to succeed into the seat as the new Vatican sovereign.
According to the Associated Press, while the College of Cardinals had congregated Friday afternoon to discuss various concerns and predicaments of the church, they had also agreed to reserve next Tuesday, March 12, as the papal election day. There is currently no front-runner in this poll, and that the previous days leading up to the present has caused instability within the Vatican walls with regards to the church issues and selection of the successor.
Reverend Thomas Reese of the National Catholic Reporter explained the process of the election day to Gannett. Tuesday’s schedule will start first with a morning mass and prayer, then a march around the Sistine Chapel, and end with the election of the new pope. The first of the ballots will be distributed after all activities have subsided, and at the end of the poll the public will be visually notified whether or not a new pope has been elected.
"That first vote is at their discretion, which is about the only optional thing on the agenda. But when they're not voting there will be lots of talks outside of the Sistine Chapel, in rooms and at dinner. Names will bubble up that will be tested in the conclave,” Reese commented.
If a new pope is not elected on the first day, the process will continue to the next consecutive day of election. Reese doubts the election process will last more than four days tops, as the longest papal election process in history lasted for four days in 1831.
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