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Monday, March 11, 2013

An illustrated guide to the Papal Conclave

The chimney has been installed and tested.  The Swiss Guard are even now still sweeping the place for bugs and spies.  Saint Peter's Square is bracing for the crowds...

Tomorrow morning (Rome time) the College of Cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church will enter the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican.  Once it has been confirmed that no one else is present (apart from a very few medical personnel and other attendants who are pledged to uphold secrecy) the doors will be closed and sealed, and the cardinals within will begin deliberation and voting on who will be the next pope.

It is called Conclave (from the Latin cum clave, meaning "with a key")  And it is a ritual which has endured for more than eight hundred years.  But what does happen among the cardinals once they are within the Sistine Chapel and its doors tied off with red silk ribbon?

The Fellowship Of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) has put up on its website a very thorough and comprehensive illustrated guide to the cardinal camaraderie, contemplation and ceremony of the Conclave.  Everything from the arrival of the cardinals to the Urbi et Orbi ("to the city and to the world") blessing that the new pontiff will give.

And by the way, FOCUS has also set up PopeAlarm.com!  Yes, have the announcement of the next Holy See sent directly to your e-mail or text.  Truly, we live in an age of miracles :-)