(ROME) — The Vatican has announced that the conclave to elect the next pope will begin on Tuesday.
Catholic Cardinals from across the globe now gathered at the Vatican were waiting for the arrival of Vietnam’s cardinal Jean-Baptiste Pham, who arrived on Thursday, before a date could be set for the election.
When all 115 of the voting cardinals were finally together, they began to gather for the meetings known as general congregations. During these meetings they discuss the problems facing the church, while geting to know each other.
On Thursday, U.S. Cardinal Roger Mahony caused a wave of anticipation when he tweeted that the discussions were “reaching a conclusion.”
“Days of General Congregations reaching a conclusion. Setting of date for Conclave nearing. Mood of excitement prevails among Cardinals,” he tweeted.
The setting of the date functions as a deadline for pre-conclave discussions.
Once the conclave begins, the cardinals will vote four times a day — twice in the morning, and twice in the afternoon. All of these votes are made during silent prayer within the Sistine Chapel.
Many of the over one billion Catholics across the world are waiting to see who will be selected as the next pontiff. One hint even arrived on Friday that the next pope could be an American.
An article in an Italian magazine by a respected religion writer says that Cardinal Dolan, the current Archbishop of New York, is being strongly considered as a viable candidate to be the next pope.
The article states that he is considered a great communicator, which is an essential quality in the very public role that the pope will play.
Cardinal O’Malley of Boston is also mentioned in the same article as a viable candidate.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
KJ Kwon and Ben Westcott, CNN
Barbara Starr, CNN
Arwa Damon, Waffa Munayyer and Bryony Jones, CNN