Sistine Chapel closes: The iconic Sistine Chapel was closed by the Vatican to make preparations for the papal conclave. Preparations include installing a false floor and putting in anti-bugging devices.
The Vatican closed down the Sistine Chapel to visitors in a sign that the more than 100 cardinals of the Roman Catholic church who have convened for the papal conclave will get into the talks to elect the next pope.
No date has been set for the conclave to select the successor to Pope Benedict XVI, who suddenly resigned last month.
Vatican workers on Tuesday are currently preparing the Sistine Chapel for the conclave, reported The Associated Press.
The news agency pointed out that in the 2005 election, preparations included putting in anti-bugging devices, attaching a stove to burn ballots, and installing a false floor, which will likely hide the anti-bugging devices.
“There is no desire to rush things but to take this time for discernment and reflection, and that’s been evident in the meetings thus far,” Vatican spokesman Rev. Thomas Rosica told CNN.
It is not necessary for all 115 cardinals to be present to set the date for the conclave, but all have to be present at the Vatican conclave to make the vote. Cardinals eligible to vote have to be under the age of 80.
Currently, there are 110 cardinals in the Vatican. The other five cardinals are in touch with the College of Cardinals and the Vatican knows they are coming, CNN reported.
Another Vatican spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, told The Guardian that the talks to elect the new pope needs “discernment and reflection,” while there is no need to “hasten the process.” On Tuesday, the cardinals gathered for a third session at the Paul VI hall. In all, there were 148 cardinals, including those over and under the age of 80, at the session.
The Vatican on Tuesday also sent a message to Benedict, the pope emeritus, to thank him for his “untiring work” while overseeing the church, according to the Guardian. Benedict was the first pope in 600 years to resign.
The meetings on Tuesday come a day after an imposter cardinal attempted to infiltrate the closed-door meetings. The man, identified as German born Ralph Napierski and who called himself “Basilius,” was driven out by Swiss Guards after they noticed he had on different garb, an unusual crucifix, and a fedora hat. He was seen shaking hands with unsuspecting cardinals who had just arrived.
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