Sunday, April 03, 2005

 

What happens next

National Public Radio seems to have a really decent overview of what happens in the Catholic Church when, and after, a Pope dies. Since there is an entire segment of the population that has never known another Pope, what happens next will be new, and interesting. The Pope's body is now lying in state at the Vatican.

I vividly remember 1978, when I was a girl, about the same age my youngest daughter is now. I remember watching for the white smoke that would indicate a decision had been made, a new Pope elected--we watched for it twice that year...

It's all a very involved process, and it will take weeks. The Cardinals will pray over this--this isn't the kind of election Americans are used to. There are, of course, hopes. There are, no doubt, favorites, perhaps favorites who come into the Conclave with the personal recommendation of Pope John Paul II. We won't be privy to that sort of information. The Cardinals will be literally wanded to assure they don't carry any electronic devices of any kind upon them, and once the entrance is sealed, we won't see or hear from them until a decision has been made. At that time, they will appear on a balcony and annouce that a Pope has been chosen, and the world will get its first glimpse of the new Vicar of Christ.

I will be posting throughout this process, and I hope to be able to post a profile of each of the Cardinals who are now considered by some to be front-runners, including the Cardinal from Nigeria. If anyone has any questions about any of this, feel free to leave Comments or to e-mail me at the address in my Profile.

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