Yet in many ways, this conclave
is a departure from preceding ones.
Among the cardinals Italy's Angelo Scola, Brazil's Odilo Scherer and Canada's Marc Ouellet -- all conservatives like Benedict -- are the three favourites but there is no clear frontrunner and conclaves
are notoriously difficult to predict.
Gregory, an apparently wise and impatient man, immediately set up new rules to guarantee quicker selections in the future 6 indeed, it was he who established the rules guiding the papal conclaves
Particularly put out at this poor house-keeping was the sometimes querulous late Cardinal Basil Hume, of Westminster, who endured two Conclaves
in 1978 (to elect Popes John Paul I and John Paul II) Cardinal Basil complained that if he lay flat on his tiny mattress, he'd wake with feet frozen from hanging over the bed-frame, and, if he curled up foetally, he'd be too stiff to move for a while next morning.
of the HSS said that the five annual conclaves
in India have drawn tremendous
often cause upsets, even though the most devout Catholics believe the Holy Spirit guides the Cardinals to make a wise choice.
have always been held in total secrecy but the threat of spying is greater due to modern technology.
open with two or more candidates who have strong followings.
He deplores the increasing secrecy of these elections where we now know less of conclaves
of the twentieth century than outsiders did in the fifteenth.
To be more specific, the last two conclaves
both took place that year, because Pope John Paul I died--much too early--after only 33 days of his papacy.
History offers plentiful examples of conclaves
where the cardinals appointed by one pope elected a very different successor.
On Friday, the Vatican issued a new rule book for papal conclaves
that requires technicians to sweep the Sistine Chapel for bugs and bans cellular phones.
are usually only held after a pope dies and are sometimes decades apart -- the last one was in 2005, the one before that 1978.
There have been Conclaves
where the Holy Spirit appears to
As West's novel describes (and the history of past conclaves
proves), the movement of choice among the cardinal-electors is not a sudden thing.