Cardinals to gather in Vatican to select Pope Benedict successor - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Cardinals to gather in Vatican to select Pope Benedict successor

Cardinals from all around the world have gathered at the Vatican and will soon begin the process of choosing a new pope. (Source: Wikicommons) Cardinals from all around the world have gathered at the Vatican and will soon begin the process of choosing a new pope. (Source: Wikicommons)

(RNN) - Steeped in thousands of years of tradition, the Catholic Church finds itself in transition, temporarily without a leader.

Around 115 Catholic cardinals will soon conclave at the Sistine Chapel - sequestered from the eyes of the world - to begin the process of choosing a successor to Pope Benedict XVI and the new leader of the world's more than 1 billion Catholics.

So what exactly is a conclave? In short, it is a meeting held to elect a new pope.

A date for the conclave has not been set. It's expected to be announced Monday.

A new pope is elected after cardinals from all corners of the globe fly to Vatican City and meet in secret, voting four times a day - twice in the morning and twice in the afternoon.

They continue the process until they reach a two-thirds plus one majority vote.

While cardinals can technically vote for any baptized Catholic male, historically they choose one of their own, the man they feel God would have them elevate to the position of pontiff.

Cardinals must be under the age of 80 to vote, which means the new pope will  certainly be under the age of 80.

Only a handful of popes throughout history have been non-cardinals. The last non-cardinal pope was Urban VI, elected in 1379.

Ballots are burned after each vote.

The only signal the waiting world has about how things are going is the burning of the ballots. If black smoke appears from the chimney of the chapel, it's a sign the cardinals have not reached a consensus. If white smoke appears, a new pope has been elected.

Conclaves are usually held under much more somber circumstances - the death and burial of a pope. Since Benedict is the first pope in 598 years to resign, there isn't a mourning period. And thanks to some last-hour tweaks to the rules by Benedict saying the cardinals don't have to wait the customary 15 days after the last pope's official last day to gather, the conclave could begin much sooner than usual.

The rules change could help the Church have a new pope in place ahead of the Holy Week, which begins on March 24, Palm Sunday.

The Holy Week marks the final days of Christ's life, leading up to his crucifixion and resurrection.

The week officially ends Saturday ahead of Easter Sunday, one of the two most important dates on the Christian calendar, along with Christmas.

Copyright 2013 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

  • Local NewsLOCALMore>>

  • Boil water notice lifted for parts of Laurel

    Boil water notice lifted for parts of Laurel

    Friday, January 19 2018 7:37 PM EST2018-01-20 00:37:08 GMT
    Boil water notice lifted for portions of Laurel; Photo Source: City of Laurel Gov't Facebook PageBoil water notice lifted for portions of Laurel; Photo Source: City of Laurel Gov't Facebook Page

    City officials have lifted a boil water notice for portions of Laurel.  

    More >>

    City officials have lifted a boil water notice for portions of Laurel.  

    More >>
  • Lady Eagles deal 1st-place UAB 1st C-USA loss

    Lady Eagles deal 1st-place UAB 1st C-USA loss

    Friday, January 19 2018 6:53 PM EST2018-01-19 23:53:49 GMT
    USM (9-9, 2-3), which saw a two-game winning streak snapped. (Photo source: USM)USM (9-9, 2-3), which saw a two-game winning streak snapped. (Photo source: USM)

    The University of Southern Mississippi Lady Eagles defeated the University of Alabama-Birmingham 80-63 Thursday night at Bartow Arena. It was USM’s most decisive win over the Lady Blazers in 11 years, and handed first-place UAB its first Conference USA loss of the year.

    More >>

    The University of Southern Mississippi Lady Eagles defeated the University of Alabama-Birmingham 80-63 Thursday night at Bartow Arena. It was USM’s most decisive win over the Lady Blazers in 11 years, and handed first-place UAB its first Conference USA loss of the year.

    More >>
  • State maintains "B" grade for efforts to fight human trafficking

    State maintains "B" grade for efforts to fight human trafficking

    Friday, January 19 2018 6:18 PM EST2018-01-19 23:18:40 GMT
    The group, Advocates for Freedom, has put up billboards like this across Mississippi to bring awareness to the issue of human trafficking. Source: WDAM.The group, Advocates for Freedom, has put up billboards like this across Mississippi to bring awareness to the issue of human trafficking. Source: WDAM.

    For the fifth year in a row, a national organization has given Mississippi a "B" grade for its efforts to fight human trafficking.  Shared Hope International, based in Vancouver, Washington, issues an annual state report card on human trafficking laws. It says Mississippi has effective laws, but should make human trafficking training for law enforcement mandatory, rather than voluntary.  Some people in the Hattiesburg area who work to increase awareness of human...

    More >>

    For the fifth year in a row, a national organization has given Mississippi a "B" grade for its efforts to fight human trafficking.  Shared Hope International, based in Vancouver, Washington, issues an annual state report card on human trafficking laws. It says Mississippi has effective laws, but should make human trafficking training for law enforcement mandatory, rather than voluntary.  Some people in the Hattiesburg area who work to increase awareness of human...

    More >>
Powered by Frankly