By Mark Abrams
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The first pre-conclave meeting to elect a new pope is scheduled for Monday morning as Cardinals of the Catholic Church gather in Rome.
The date for the conclave won’t be set until all of the Cardinals have arrived.
The 115 men in red will enter the Sistine Chapel to deliberate, discuss and vote on one among them to become the 266th pope in the history of the church.
Rocco Palmo, a Catholic journalist who chronicles church politics and Vatican happenings, says before the cardinals even begin their procession, there will be some elaborate security measures taken to ensure the proceedings remain secret.
“All of their cell phones, laptops, Ipads, smart-whatever, you name it are going to be confiscated beforehand and the internet is cut off and, the television is cut off,” he said.
Palmo says the cardinals are to cast four ballots a day until a successful candidate achieves two-thirds of the votes.
He says the ballots are burned in a stove after each vote and a chemical is added to the ballots. Black smoke means no pope, but white smoke will trigger bells at St. Peter’s Basilica, meaning a new Pope has been named.