Papal Conclave to Begin Tuesday, March 12

The College of Cardinals has voted in their eighth General Congregation to begin the papal conclave on Tuesday, March 12, 2013. The College will vote in that conclave, which is held privately in the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel, to elect a new Roman Pontiff to lead the Catholic Church.

A new pope must receive a two-thirds super-majority vote. At the 2005 papal conclave that followed the death of Blessed John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI was elected after four ballot cycles, with at least two ballots held each day during the conclave. As such, it is possible (though not certain) that a new pope will be elected before the end of next week.

Of the 117 cardinals under the age of eighty who are eligible to vote in the conclave, 115 will participate. The other two cardinals have excused themselves from the proceedings for personal or health reasons.

Pope Benedict XVI resigned the papacy at the end of February, the first pontiff to do so in nearly six hundred years. Once elected, his successor will be the 266th Bishop of Rome—an office first held by Saint Peter, whom Christ had appointed head of the church (cf. Matthew 16:19)—and will be responsible for shepherding the world’s 1.16 billion Catholics.

Scott Bradford has been putting his opinions on his website since 1995—before most people knew what a website was. He has been a professional web developer in the public- and private-sector for over twenty years. He is an independent constitutional conservative who believes in human rights and limited government, and a Catholic Christian whose beliefs are summarized in the Nicene Creed. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from George Mason University. He loves Pink Floyd and can play the bass guitar . . . sort-of. He’s a husband, pet lover, amateur radio operator, and classic AMC/Jeep enthusiast.