Catholic Cardinals Enter Conclave to Elect New Pope
Indications are that the cardinals struggled to agree on the key characteristics a new pontiff should possess. The divide reportedly emerged between cardinals focused on finding a new pope with the oratory gifts and persona to swell the estimated 1.2 billion headcount of Catholics around the world right now, and those who more interested in a man with the temperament and managerial skills to get the Church bureaucracy and finances in order. There is not thought to be one man who possesses all of those qualities in unison, leaving the field of potential pontiffs, or "papabili," wide open.
CBS News correspondent Mark Phillips reports that, oddly, an Italian -- Cardinal Angelo Scola -- has surfaced as the champion of the reformist camp supported by many non-Italian cardinals, those who seem to want to overhaul the way the Church runs itself. Conversely, a Brazilian -- Odilo Scherer -- is a traditionalist and supported by the largely-Italian faction which would prefer to leave the Curia to go about its business more or less as usual.
Neither man, reports Phillips, is thought to have enough votes to achieve the required two-thirds majority in the early balloting, and there are a lot of people who could slip through the middle as votes shift. It's happened before.
"This time around, there are many different candidates, so it's normal that it's going to take longer than the last time," Chile's Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz told The Associated Press, adding an oft-repeated claim that "there are no groups, no compromises, no alliances, just each one with his conscience voting for the person he thinks is best, which is why I don't think it will be over quickly."
For any man to be elected, he must garner the support of 77 of the 115 cardinal electors. On Tuesday, the cardinals may chose to hold their first vote, or they may decide to put that off until the second day of the conclave on Wednesday.
Beginning Wednesday morning, the cardinals will hold two rounds of voting, with two ballots each, every day until a single candidate reaches the 77-vote threshold.
Two votes will be held in the morning and if they are inconclusive, another two will be held in the afternoon. All voting ballots will be burned in small ovens in the chapel after each round of voting, producing the smoke which, when black, indicates no pope has been elected and when white, indicates a new pontiff has been chosen.