Cardinals prepare for seclusion of papal conclave

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

Now that Benedict XVI has flown off into retirement, the cardinals he left behind at the Vatican must decide which of them should become the next pope.

For now, the more than 100 voting cardinals from around the world are getting to know each other. Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley says there are many good candidates to choose from, so they're keeping an open mind.

On Monday, the cardinals are expected to begin meeting to set the date for the papal conclave, which derives its name from the Latin words "con clave" - with a key. It's called that because centuries ago cardinals were locked in until they elected a pope.

New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan says these days it's more a matter of locking the world out, as cardinals give up their cell phones and all other contact with those who might seek to influence their decision.

They'll remain in prayerful seclusion until two-thirds of them agree and the announcement is made, "Habemas Papam!" - We have a pope.

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