Even early on Tuesday morning there was a sense of anticipation in St Peter’s Square. Cardinals began arriving at the Vatican around seven o’clock. There were also priests, including from America and other parts of the world.
“It is startin’ today, yes!” said one American bishop. “I’m very happy because we’ll have a new pope.”
“Sooner or later?” he was asked. “The sooner, the better,” he replied.
Sister Susanne, a nun from Cameroon, said: “The next pope is the one God will inspire our cardinals to choose. I can’t say who it will be. But I want to welcome whoever is named.”
“I’m excited. It’s great to be able to witness this, to be a part of this. It’s gonna be an historic moment for the Church,” said Dicken Tom McNally from the US state of Michigan.
Euronews asked him who he thought the new pope would be. “Oh, I don’t know. Only God knows it and he hasn’t told me,” he replied with a laugh.
“How many days before we have this new pope?” we asked Don Luciano Chile.
“I don’t know, but I think it will be quick. We hope so. We all want a new pope soon.”
“Will he be from the US?”
“He will come from wherever God wants!”
As speculation spread in the streets around St Peter’s Square, an American cardinal, Timothy Dolan, was being tipped as a favourite.
Euronews correspondent in Rome, Simona Volta, said: “Seventy seven votes are needed by a cardinal to gain the seat of St. Peter and become Benedict XVI’s successor. In Rome the weather is uncertain, just as we imagine the cardinals to be, as they prepare to enter the conclave.”