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Home | About The Process | A Look Back At Pope Benedict

Preparations Underway For Papal Conclave

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TWC News: Preparations Underway For Papal Conclave
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Preparations are being made for the conclave to select a new pope, which will begin on Tuesday. NY1's Vivian Lee filed the following report from Vatican City.

VATICAN CITY - On Saturday, workers began installing the temporary chimney on the Sistine Chapel's roof for the conclave smoke outside.

Inside, workers put the finishing touches under a canopy of Michaelangelo's spellbinding frescoes, including "The Last Judgment" and "The Creation of Adam".

That chapel is said to be modeled after King Solomon's temple, which was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.

When all 115 cardinals vote inside the historic site, Catholics believe they channel the Holy Spirit in making their choice for a new pope.

"It was a time of quiet and a lot of time of reflection and their own prayer," said Msgr. Kevin Irwin of the Catholic University of America. "They're not politicking, they're not chatting while it's going on. They're watching the ceremony of each of them walking up to give their ballot."

Engineer Stefano Marino designed the system that makes the white smoke that "we have a new pope".

"We devised a stove burning chemical substances, non toxic," he said. "That was my most important job. I still have [goose bumps] in my arms."

If that white smoke doesn't appear after three full days of voting, the cardinals will take a day to pray before resuming the vote all the way to the 33rd or 34th ballot. In this case, that day would be Saturday.

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