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Cardinals set to elect new Pope

Cardinals have attended a special Mass yesterday morning, as they were prepared to begin voting to elect a new Pope, the BBC informs.The 115 cardinal-electors listened to choirs in St Peter’s Basilica as they sought divine guidance for the vote. They were due to process into the Sistine Chapel later on Tuesday to begin their secret deliberations. They will vote four times daily until two-thirds can agree on a candidate. The election was prompted by the surprise abdication of Benedict XVI. There is no clear frontrunner to take over as head of the Roman Catholic Church.The 85-year-old Benedict stepped down last month saying he was no longer strong enough to lead the Church, which is beset by problems ranging from a worldwide scandal over child sex abuse to allegations of corruption at the Vatican bank. His resignation and the recent damage to the Church’s reputation make the choice of the cardinal-electors especially hard to predict.They will weigh pressure for a powerful manager to reform the Vatican against calls for a new Pope able to inspire the faithful, our correspondent adds. At Tuesday morning’s “Mass for the Election of the Supreme Pontiff” in St Peter’s Basilica, the cardinals filed in wearing bright red vestments to the sound of Gregorian chanting. In his homily, the Dean of the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, praised the “brilliant pontificate” of Pope Benedict and implored God to grant another “Good Shepherd” to lead the church. He outlined the mission Catholics believe was given by Jesus Christ to St Peter – the first Pope – emphasising love and sacrifice, evangelisation and the unity of the church. n his homily, the Dean of the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, praised the “brilliant pontificate” of Pope Benedict and implored God to grant another “Good Shepherd” to lead the church. A few hundred people watched the Mass from St Peter’s Square on giant screens in thunderstorms and pouring rain. In the afternoon, 115 cardinal-electors – all under 80, as those over 80 are excluded – were due to proceed into the Sistine Chapel for the secret conclave to select Benedict’s successor. Once they have taken an oath of secrecy, Msgr Guido Marini, papal master of ceremonies, will call out the words “Extra omnes” – “Everybody out” – and the chapel doors will be locked to outsiders.Protesters in Rome staged a demonstration aimed at the new pope. His identity remains a mystery, his dress code does not. Ermine fur will edge his ceremonial robes and that brought activists to demonstrate outside the Holy Father’s tailors in Rome, Euronews informs.

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