" Extra Omnes "- Conclave Voting Starts. - We Wait and Pray

So the day has arrived - it's Tuesday 12th March, and the Cardinal electors finally get down to the business of voting for the 266th Pope and leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics, Voting takes place within a " total lockdown" of secrecy inside the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican.  

Of the 207 total Cardinals around the world, 115 are Cardinal electors, eligible to vote because they are still under the age of 80 years old.

The 115  Cardinals from 48 countries across five continents will hold a special mass tomorrow morning (Tuesday) in St Peter’s Basilica called “Pro Eligendo Romano Pontifice” meaning “For the Election of the Roman Pontiff. They then walk, or if elderly and infirm, take a mini-bus to the Apostolic Palace. 
They will process from the Pauline Chapel to the Sistine Chapel as they chant the Litany of Saints. Each will then take a special oath of secrecy, vowing not to reveal any details of their voting, on pain of excommunication. 

A Vatican master of ceremonies will pronounce the words “Extra omnes” - "Everyone out", ordering staff and aides to leave the chapel so that only the Cardinal electors remain. 

Various views have been expressed recently on The role of the Holy Spirit and Papal Conclaves.

Here's a round up of just a few :

I also believe this quote from Einstein which states that "No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it, and maybe that is why I believe that the role of the Holy Spirit is always to prod imagination and creative choices acting from a higher level of consciousness. But free will always prevails.

Cardinals will sit to watch their colleagues cast their first vote as they approach the altar under the imposing frescoed ceilings of Michelangelo's Last Judgement. One by one, the 115 Cardinal Electors will take the oath —

 “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” 

The ballot is placed in a silver urn on the altar. More on the urns here.

For the rest of the conclave they will vote four times a day, burning their ballot papers after every second vote, until they reach a two-thirds majority and the  successor to St Peter is announced from the balcony of the basilica that bears his name.

These are a few more recent articles of interest and a radio podcast that all deal with the thorny and pressing theme of change.
  •  In this article Emeritus Archbishop of San Francisco John Quinn on Saturday called for major church governance reforms, including changes in the papacy itself.
Fr. Thomas Reese S.J. speculates on his reasons why there are currently no front runners in the Papal conclave.  
  • Excellent analysis on the Catholic church and how it might be shaped for the future by James Hanvey S.J. from America Magazine here.
  • Click here for a radio interview  by Michael Enright speaking with Hans Kung from Tubingen this Sunday on CBC Radio. ( 24 minutes duration.) as a follow up to his Vatican Spring article in the New York Times . Full text of NYT article from here.
So we wait and pray.

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