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.
March 6th, 2013
11:56 AM ET
By Richard Allen Greene, Laura Smith-Spark and Hada Messia, CNN
Rome (CNN) - A group representing survivors of sexual abuse by priests named a "Dirty Dozen" list of cardinals it said would be the worst candidates for pope based on their handling of child sex abuse claims.
Their presence on the list is based "on their actions and/or public comment about child sex abuse and cover up in the church," the group said.
The list includes Roman Catholic cardinals from several countries.
SNAP, the Survivors' Network of those Abused by Priests, said as it released the list Wednesday that its accusations were based on media reports, legal filings and victims' statements.
The cardinals named on the list have not yet responded to the move by SNAP.
But when asked about it by CNN, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, a spokesman for the Vatican, said: "We believe it is not up to SNAP to decide who comes to conclave and who is chosen ... cardinals can decide themselves without asking SNAP for advice."FULL STORY
March 6th, 2013
07:14 AM ET
Editor's note: Cardinal Theodore McCarrick is the Archbishop Emeritus of Washington, D.C. He participated in the 2005 election of Pope Benedict XVI. Watch Cardinal McCarrick on The Situation Room today at 6 p.m. ET.
By Theodore Edgar McCarrick, Special to CNN
(CNN) - The world is waiting on the next pope in more ways than one.
Everyone, including the College of Cardinals, is wondering who the next Bishop of Rome and leader of the world's billion Catholics will be. But the world is waiting in another, more urgent sense, because the pope isn't just a spiritual leader to Catholics. His work has a global dimension.
As has been true in the past, the next pope will have to provide a moral voice to a range of challenges.
An estimated 1.7 billion people live without adequate health care or decent living conditions and more than 1.3 billion live below the measure of extreme poverty. Some 870 million people are chronically malnourished. Jesus identified himself with the poor and the marginalized and all Christians have a responsibility to them. But the pope, as Servant of the Servants of God and Vicar of Christ on Earth, bears a special burden.FULL STORY
March 4th, 2013
10:27 AM ET
From Richard Allen Greene and Mark Morgenstein, CNN
Rome (CNN) - The process of picking a new pope was one step closer to starting on Monday, as more than 140 Catholic cardinals began a meeting at the Vatican.
The cardinals gathered on Monday morning, but haven't yet decided when the conclave to select Pope Benedict XVI's successor will start, Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi told reporters.
"It's on the table, but no decision has been reached," Lombardi said.
The General Congregations meeting is a key step before the conclave, when all cardinals under age 80 meet at the Vatican to vote for the next pope.
Lombardi said 142 cardinals attended Monday morning's session. Of that group, 103 were cardinal electors who will choose the next pope. Twelve cardinal electors have not yet arrived in Rome, but were expected to arrive later Monday and Tuesday, he said.FULL STORY
March 1st, 2013
10:46 AM ET
By Laura Smith-Spark, Richard Allen Greene and Hada Messia, CNN
Rome (CNN) - With the dust still settling from Benedict XVI's historic resignation as pope, the focus in Rome turns to the future Friday as Roman Catholic cardinals prepare to meet to discuss a timetable for picking the new pontiff.
A letter issued by the dean of the College of Cardinals on Friday calls the cardinals to come together Monday morning for the first in a series of meetings, known as general congregations.
There will be a second session Monday afternoon, according to the letter from Cardinal Angelo Sodano.
One of the cardinals' first tasks will be agreeing when to hold the secret election, or conclave, in which they will pick Benedict's successor.
However, the date for the conclave may not be set Monday, Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said Friday.FULL STORY
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.