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Prayers and contemplation ahead of conclave

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Prayers and contemplation ahead of conclave

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In every church across Rome Sunday bells rang out calling the faithful to mass. The 115 cardinals who will vote for a new pope have been holding what are called, “general congregations” to prepare for Tuesday’s conclave.

The last election in 2005 took two days. Analysts believe the number of meetings this time are a reflection of the many challenges facing the Roman Catholic Church particularly in the light of recent abuse scandals

“The last time there was a leader who was heads above the others who was a great theologian and that of course was Joseph Ratzinger. Whereas this time, no it is not as clear cut. The choice could be made between one, two even 12 candidates … So we do not know. Actually, we know nothing as we have not seen the results of the first round.,” said Archbishop of Lyon Monsignor Philippe Barbarin.

In the midst of centuries old tradition 21st century technology has meant the Vatican has had to pass a new rule for the election of this pope. No cardinal must tweet during the conclave. To do so would mean ex-communication. Our correspondent in Rome Fabian Farge says: “Like the Cardinal of Lyon, Philippe Barbarin, all the Cardinals celebrated Mass today in their respective churches in Rome.It is the last act before another mass, which will open the conclave on Tuesday and the start of the long-awaited election of the new pope.”