The Cardinals had their last meetings today. Tomorrow morning they have a special mass to pray for the conclave. ( I hope to go) The conclave itself starts tomorrow afternoon.
The chimney is in place, the Cardinals know each other fairly well, and everything looks ready.
The conclave itself starts about 4:30pm tomorrow. After the Cardinals process into the Sistine chapel, they take an oath of secrecy, and then the master of ceremonies says “Extra Omnes” – “Everybody Out!” Then the cardinals listen to a meditation by another Cardinal about how they must act for the good of the Church. Then they proceed to the voting. There will be only one vote tomorrow.
This one’s an eye-opener vote. After over a week of meetings, this is when the Cardinals actually get to know for the first time who the real candidates are. There will probably be many – a lot with a few votes, and several with more. 77 votes are needed to achieve the two-thirds majority to be elected pope. It’s very unlikely this will happen tomorrow. The shortest papal elections have taken 2 days, so we’ll have to wait at least until Wednesday. Add to that the fact that there seems to be no clear front-runner, and we could be in for a longer conclave. (though hopefully not as long the one in 1740, which lasted 181 days, and during which 4 cardinals died!)
White smoke coming from the Sistine chapel chimney means we have a pope, black smoke means no pope. The smoke will come at about 7pm tomorrow, and it will probably be black.
Let’s double our prayers!
God bless you,Brother Kevin