Conclave to Elect New Pope Begins April 18

Journalists to View Video of Cardinals’ Residence

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VATICAN CITY, APRIL 6, 2005 ( The conclave of cardinals to elect a new pope will begin Monday, April 18, says Vatican spokesman Joaquín Navarro Valls.

The director of the Vatican press office explained today that a Votive Mass will be celebrated that morning for the election of the pope, in St. Peter’s Basilica, and «the cardinals will enter the conclave in the early afternoon» and remain there until the election of the new pontiff.

According to the normative, the conclave must take place 15 to 20 days after the Pope’s death. John Paul II died April 2.

During the conclave, cardinals younger than 80 before John Paul II’s death (those who are older cannot participate) will reside in Domus Sanctae Marthae, a resident building inside the Vatican. They will vote in the Sistine Chapel.

The cardinals will live in isolation, that is, they will not be able to speak with anyone outside the conclave, nor communicate by phone or Internet, or listen to the radio or watch television.

There were 122 cardinals present in the general congregation of cardinals held today in Rome, although among them were some older than 80. In total, there are 117 cardinal electors and 66 non-electors.

Vatican spokesman Navarro Valls said that some cardinal electors will not be able to participate in the conclave due to illness.

He announced that the press will be allowed to visit the Sistine Chapel, but will not be able to see the interior of Domus Sanctae Marthae, as cardinals who have arrived in Rome are already living there.

Some 3,500 journalists have been accredited by the Holy See, so a visit to the residence would cause numerous logistical problems.

In lieu of the visit, a film will be shown which offers ample details of the interior of the residence.

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