Cardinals locked in for conclave to elect pope

'Extra omnes' marks start of vote inside Sistine Chapel

Cardinals locked in for conclave to elect pope

Rome, March 12 - The 115 cardinals assembled at the Vatican to elect a new pope were locked into the conclave Tuesday for the first voting session in the Sistine Chapel. If one cardinal receives a two-thirds majority, or 77 votes, in the first round, a new pope could emerge by the end of the day, though this is very unlikely. The conclave officially began when the master of papal liturgical celebrations uttered the Latin phrase "extra omnes", or "everyone out", referring to anyone present who was not a cardinal-elector. The conclave was called last month following the shocking announcement from Benedict XVI that he would abdicate, becoming the first living pope to leave the throne of St. Peter in 600 years.

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