|The Doors Are Closed for the 2005 Conclave|
In two hours, the cardinals will process into the Sistine Chapel to begin the process of selecting the next pope. Each cardinal will take an oath to abide by the rules of the conclave. The last people who are not among the voting cardinals will be asked to leave, and the first vote will be taken.
One vote will be taken this afternoon, and it's incredibly unlikely that a pope will be chosen in that vote. The cardinals will, however, get a chance to see from the results of that vote who among have accreted a certain degree of support. They will then have the evening to talk and think and pray before beginning the first full day of voting tomorrow. Two morning votes and two afternoon votes will be taken each further day of the conclave until a pope has been selected. (You can find all sorts of good information the conclave process over at ElectingThePope.net)
Last time around I strongly hoped that Cardinal Ratzinger would be selected -- though at the time it seemed like everyone was saying that he was too old and too "hard line" for that to happen. I was shocked and elated when his election was announced. At the time, I worked five minutes drive from home. MrsDarwin and the kids (then just two of them) saw the white smoke on TV, drove to work (we only had one car at the time and I'd walked in) picked me up, and brought me home in time to see Benedict XVI be announced and greet the faithful from the balcony.
This time, I don't have a "favorite" cardinal and haven't read much of anything by any of them. I find myself excited but open minded on what will happen. I signed up on PopeAlarm.com in hopes that if the white smoke goes up while I'm at work, I can rush back to my desk and watch live video. And now we wait and pray and wonder.