Vatican City

Security systems for cardinals in place at Vatican

Sistine Chapel sealed off, cell phones jammed for conclave

Security systems for cardinals in place at Vatican

Vatican City, March 8 - Tight security measures are in place to protect the privacy of cardinals during the Vatican conclave, while jammers are causing mobile phone difficulties in the Vatican area. The advanced technological means to 'jam' electromagnetic frequencies are the same as those used by Italian soldiers in Afghanistan to protect armoured vehicles from attack. Security measures such as frisking will not be applied to the cardinals, who "will not be searched" during the days of the conclave, Father Federico Lombardi has told journalists. Auxiliary personnel present at the conclave will instead have to pass through metal detectors. Father Lombardi said that there would be "electronic screens" to protect the areas in which the conclave is to take place, in order to prevent communications with the outside world. Two areas will be subjected to air-tight security. The Sistine Chapel and adjacent areas will have both restricted access and electronic screens, including as concerns the adjacent rooms to prevent anyone from picking up what the cardinals say. The other 'fortified' area will be the residence of Saint Martha, where the Cardinals will be staying. They will eat in common areas and have the chance to pray and undergo confession far from those who have not sworn to utmost secrecy. Moreover, Vatican security will be guarding the route the electors will be taking at least twice a day, in the morning and in the afternoon, leading from Saint Martha's Square to the heart of the Vatican, from which they will enter the Sistine Chapel. Father Lombardi has said that Benedict XVI's motu proprio, with which he modified the Apostolic Constitution Universi Dominici Gregis, allows cardinals to go to the Sistine Chapel on foot and not necessarily by van.

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