The Conclave Begins

Sistine chapel doors closing
As I write this the Cardinals just processed into the Sistine Chapel, so I figured it was as good a time as any to write up a post about how the conclave works.  I was interested in the process, so I figured that I might as well share what I've figured out (I'm sure some of you understand the process better than I do...)  This, obviously, won't be a terribly close examination of the process, just an overview.
This morning (in Rome) the Cardinals celebrated Mass together, and now they have entered the Sistine Chapel.  They prayed/sang a litany, sang the Veni Creator Spiritus, then the Cardinal Dean (for this conclave it is Cardinal Angelo Sodano) read aloud the oath which all the cardinals then individual swear to follow all the rules in the apostolic constitution (Universi Dominici Gregis), which was promulgated by Blessed John Paul II on February 22, 1996, and revised by Benedict XVI in 2007 (always requiring a 2/3 majority to elect a pope) and 2013 (allowing the conclave to start sooner than 15 days after sede vecante), to keep what happens in the conclave secret, and to obey whomever is elected pope.  After all the Cardinals finish with their individual oaths they will expel everybody else, with the Latin phrase Extra Omnes! [everybody else out!] and get down to the voting process.
Here is the timeline for the next day or two: (all times are in Rome time which is GMT + 1, CT + 6 hours, ET + 5 hours, etc.)
Tuesday, March 12th, 2013
15:45 – Transfer from Domus Sanctae Marthae to Pauline Chapel
16:30 – Procession from Pauline Chapel to Sistine Chapel
16:45 – Oath administered and Extra omnes! Proclaimed
          Followed by meditation by Card. Prosper Grech, OSA
          Eventual 1st vote
19:15 – Vespers
19:30 – Cardinals return to Domus Sanctae Marthae
Wednesday, March 13th, 2013
16:30 – Breakfast served in Domus S. Marthae (until 7:30)
07:45 – Transfer from Domus S. Marthae to Sistine Chapel
08:15 – Mass
09:30 – Hora Media in Sistine Chapel
          Morning vote(s) (scrutiny(ies) taken
12:30 – Cardinals return to Domus Sanctae Marthae
13:00 – Lunch
16:00 – Cardinals return to Sistine Chapel
16:50 – Scrutinies taken
19:15 – Vespers
19:30 – Cardinals return to Domus Sanctae Marthae
So, there will be one voting this afternoon (Rome time) and thereafter 2 in the morning and 2 in the afternoon of each day.  Before each vote the Cardinals again swear to follow the rules as mentioned before.  Each voting is comprised of 3 parts: pre-scrutiny, scrutiny, and post-scrutiny.  I'm going to very much simplify the process (read Universi Dominici Gregis if you want to know more), but basically each Cardinal is given a ballot which reads Eligo in Summum Pontificem [I elect as Supreme Pontiff] upon which they write the name of the person they have picked for pope.  After everyone has voted the cardinals process to the altar, swear: "I call as my witness Christ the Lord who will be my judge, that my vote is given to the one who before God I think should be elected." [obviously this is a translation] and cast their vote.  After all the cardinals cast their vote, the ballots are counted (to make sure they are all there), and then unfolded and recorded (a process done by multiple scrutineers, who are themselves randomly selected, to guarantee accuracy).  The numbers are checked, read aloud, and then burned.  If a person has a 2/3 majority (77 votes) and they accept the "position" of supreme pontiff (Acceptasne electionem de te canonice factam in Summum Pontificem? [Do you accept your canonical election as Supreme Pontiff?]); they are the new Pope (Habemus Papam!).  If no one candidate has the requisite votes the ballots are burned with a chemical (previously a kind of tar or pitch) to produce black smoke, and the cardinals vote again. 
I'm off to Mass!  I might post more later.
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