Based on the Latin for a place that can be locked with a key, the 115 cardinals involved in the ‘conclave’ beginning on Tuesday will have the splendour of the Sistine Chapel as their enclosure.
There they will begin choosing the new head of the Catholic Church to takeover from Pope Benedict XVI.
Those outside will look to the chimney installed on top of the Sistine Chapel a few days ago for the symbolic white smoke which means a new Pontiff has been elected.
“Hundreds of years ago what happened is one pope took almost three years to be elected and because of that they threatened to lock the cardinals in a room and only feed them bread and water. That doesn’t happen anymore,” said Kim Daniels, Director of the group Catholic Voices USA.
Perhaps the threat of bread and water is not necessary because many are speculating this will be a short conclave. Vatican Press Secretary Father Thomas Rosica said “We will have a pope by the end of the week. I don’t think this will be a long conclave and they are well prepared, they know what they have to do.”
The cardinals may use the conclave to talk about key issues that have affected the Church, such as the Vatileaks scandal, as well as the attributes of any new Pope.
“I think there is more variety of younger people, and I think we’ve got more time to discuss the different aspects of the needs of the Church and the world in different parts, you know,” explained Archbishop of Durban in South Africa Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier.
Millions of people of faith are praying for an inspired Vatican election.