March 13th, 2013
11:40 AM ET
By Laura Smith-Spark, Hada Messia and Richard Allen Greene, CNN
Black smoke poured from the chimney fixed to the roof of the Sistine Chapel on Wednesday morning, indicating that the cardinals' first two votes of the day were inconclusive.
The 115 voting cardinals are taking part in the second day of the secretive conclave to elect a new pope.
They will have two more opportunities to vote later Wednesday.
A two-thirds majority is required to confirm a new pontiff to step into the shoes left empty by the historic resignation of Benedict XVI at the end of last month.FULL STORY
March 12th, 2013
01:04 PM ET
By Kelly Marshall Smoot, CNN
Washington (CNN) – Hoping to enhance the conclave experience, some new apps and websites are using technology to bring a centuries-old, top-secret tradition of selecting the next pontiff – one that still relies on smoke signals – to Catholics and pope watchers around the world.
Logos Bible Software designed Conclave, a free app, and had a working prototype within 48 hours after Pope Benedict XVI announced he intended to resign.
"At first we thought we didn't have time for it, and then we decided to go for it," said Andrew Jones, director of Catholic products for Logos Bible Software, about the process of developing the app. "Never before has technology been so accessible for such a specific task. Generating a new piece of software this quickly, or customizing it for such a brief event, was previously unheard of."
March 12th, 2013
08:05 AM ET
By Sarah Brown, CNN
What are your thoughts on who the next Pope could, or should be? Tell us
(CNN) - Thousands of Africans have expressed their hopes that the next pope will be the first from their continent - with a majority believing it would mean the Catholic Church becoming more conservative.
The survey of 20,000 people, conducted on mobile phones across 11 nations, also exposed big divisions among Africans about the future direction of the church, including faith, homosexuality and race.
"An African pope will bring about more unity on the continent and confidence in Africans," said one woman from Zimbabwe, while a young Nigerian man polled said an African pope "will eradicate immoralities, such as same-sex marriage."
CNN commissioned the survey, partnering with Jana.com, which has pioneered polling in developing countries with fast-growing mobile networks.FULL STORY
March 12th, 2013
08:04 AM ET
Editor's note: Sebastian Gomes, a producer at Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation in Canada, was an accredited observer to the Vatican Synod of Bishops in October. He is acting as an assistant to the Rev. Thomas Rosica, a spokesman for the Holy See during the papal transition.
By Sebastian Gomes, Special to CNN
(CNN) – Pope Benedict XVI shocked the world by resigning last month, but before leaving the throne of St. Peter vacant, he seems to have spent months, if not years, charting a course for the future of the Catholic Church.
In hindsight we see how calculated Benedict’s thinking was, and not only about his resignation.
He called an unexpected consistory to be held on November 24 in which he created six new cardinals, none of them coming from Europe.
March 12th, 2013
04:38 AM ET
Rome (CNN) - The conclave in numbers:
115: Number of cardinal electors in the conclave to elect the new pope
67: Number of cardinal electors appointed by Benedict XVI
48: Number of cardinal electors appointed by John Paul II
77: Number of votes to be elected pope (2/3 of 115, rounded up)
March 12th, 2013
04:01 AM ET
(CNN)–CNN's Chris Cuomo chats with two young New Yorkers who, despite sacrifices, are working to join priesthood.
March 11th, 2013
07:48 PM ET
By Michael Pearson. Richard Allen Greene and Dan Rivers, CNN
Rome (CNN) – The Sistine Chapel is ready. The new pope's clothes are laid out. Now it's up to the cardinals.
The work to elect a successor to retired Pope Benedict XVI begins in earnest Tuesday, with a morning Mass at St. Peter's Basilica.
The service - open to the public - will be the last public event featuring the 115 cardinals who will choose the new spiritual leader of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics.
Cardinals taking part in the process will then walk to the Sistine Chapel, chanting prayers as they go, to begin the secret election called the conclave.
After that, the only clue the world will have of what is happening inside will be periodic puffs of smoke from a copper chimney installed over the weekend in the Sistine Chapel.
Black smoke, no pope. White smoke, success.
March 8th, 2013
11:44 AM ET
Rome (CNN) - The Catholic cardinals gathered in Rome voted Friday to begin the secret election, or conclave, to elect a new pope next Tuesday afternoon, the Vatican said.
The 115 cardinal-electors taking part in the conclave will enter the closed-door process after a morning Mass, the Vatican said. Only those younger than 80 are eligible to vote.
The cardinals voted Friday morning to accept the letters of explanation of two cardinal-electors who are eligible to vote for the next pope but will not attend the conclave: Keith O'Brien of Scotland and Julius Riyadi Darmaatmadja of Indonesia.
March 7th, 2013
09:03 AM ET
Editor's note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.
By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN
(CNN) - Earlier this week I was sitting in my office with a Catholic student discussing the upcoming election of the new pope. “It’s irrelevant,” she told me, adding that none of her Catholic friends care who the next pope will be, nor should they.
For much of American history, the pope was anything but irrelevant. Throughout the 19th century, Protestants feared him, concerned he and his minions were plotting to take over the United States from afar and replace our Constitution with their canon law. FULL POST
March 6th, 2013
01:18 PM ET
By Richard Allen Greene, CNN
Rome (CNN) – In and around the Vatican these days, there's one question everyone keeps asking: When is the conclave to elect the new pope going to start?
The cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church aren't saying, but they're sending a clear message: They will not be rushed.
As of the seventh day after Pope Benedict XVI flew off into the sunset, the voting cardinals hadn't even all arrived in Rome, leaving the world wondering what's taking so long.
But don't be fooled. The conclave matters, but it isn't the only game in town. What's happening now is at least as important.
About this blog
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team and frequent posts from religion scholar and author Stephen Prothero.