Region 8, World Waits For New Pope - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Jonesboro, AR -- Heather Flanigan Reports

Region 8, World Waits For New Pope

April 18, 2005 – Posted at 3:38 p.m. CST

JONESBORO -- Roman Catholic Cardinals have locked themselves inside the Vatican's Sistine Chapel to begin the historic process of selecting the next pontiff. 115 cardinals entered the chapel earlier Monday, taking an oath of secrecy, vowing not to disclose the discussions surrounding the election.

The Cardinals will only emerge from the conclave once they've selected the first new pontiff of the third Christian Millennium and the 264th successor to St. Peter. And as to who the next pontiff will be, it's anyone's guess. But more than 20 members of the conclave are from Italy.

“Italians have proven to be rather good popes. But at the same time, the fastest growing churches or areas in the world are in Africa. The largest majority of Catholics are found in Latin America,” said Father Richard Cleary of the Holy Angels Convent.

It's believed that the new Pope will be selected by the end of this week. Faster than the election of Pope Gregory the 10th in the 13th century which lasted nearly three years.

“The Cardinals have to consider the situation of the church in the world today, the challenges to which she is and will be exposed to in this century,” said Father Cleary.

Cardinals will vote twice a day and their ballots will be burned in an old stove. Chemically enhanced colored smoke will indicate whether or not a new Pope has been chosen. Black smoke means no Pope; white smoke, a new Pope.

“We at times have been persecuted, at times we look foolish as if out of step with the modern world, but Jesus didn't say keep in step with contemporary morels, because standards change. But the church always has to hold principle,” said Father Cleary.

Pope John Paul II put his own signature on the centuries-old process. He appointed all but three of the 115 cardinals who will appoint his successor.

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