Conclave Central

I’m now watching EWTN as preparations begin for the procession of the cardinals into the Sistine Chapel. A historic moment! I think I will put up a post with running comments and a few links. I’ll add updates as needed today.

The last conclave to take place in Lent was the one that led to the election of Pius XII on March 3, 1939. The atmosphere at that time was gloomy, as war was looming in Europe. Today’s atmosphere is not quite that dark, but the skies are gloomy enough; in fact there has been torrential rain in Rome the last few days. Certainly fitting enough for a penitential season.

The cardinals are going to begin the procession from the Pauline chapel, with a huge fresco of the crucifixion of St. Peter. A sober reminder of what following Christ means.

Something on the voting:

Robert Royal thinks Cardinal Scola has the edge going in, as many as 40 votes.

Each of the cardinals is taking the oath to maintain the secrecy of the conclave. All very solemn, even the usually irrepressible Cardinal Dolan.

Msgr. Marini, Pope Benedict’s Master of Ceremonies, announces the extra omnes.

Everyone’s leaving. Msgr. Marini closes the doors.

The conclave begins!


I saw Abp. Ganswein – Pope Emeritus Benedict’s secretary, and now Prefect of the Papal Household — exit the chapel. I felt sure he would be there, as I recalled the Prefect was supposed to have a role in sealing up the conclave, though it was never mentioned on the news until now. Must be an emotional moment for him.

I think he is supposed to be one of the first in the conclave right after the new Pope is elected too.

2:41 p.m. Watching EWTN – first black smoke just now.

Fr. Z has a poll predicting what name the new Pope will take: The winner — Gregory XVII. Today, coincidentally is Pope Gregory’s feast day in the old calendar. A good omen?

Update: 7:15 a.m.

Up early – mainly because I fell asleep exhausted about 9 p.m. and then got up at 4 to work. Black smoke again. Dr. James Hitchcock confirms the feeling that Scola and Ouellet seem to be the major candidates, at least on the first rounds. Both are closely associated with Pope Benedict and the theological journal he founded Communio.

We’ll have to wait until around noontime for any more news (6 p.m.) Last time, 2005, it was noontime and my lunch break at work when my co-workers and I heard about Pope Benedict’s election on the radio (this is before I worked at home). John Paul I was also elected around 6 p.m. Can they do it in 5 ballots?

Stay tuned.

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