The successor to PopeBenedict XVI will be elected by a college of cardinald meeting in conclave in the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican.
A two-thirds majority of cardinals is required to elect the new pope.
The papal conclave consists of college of cardinals numbering 120 members.
Must meet between 15 and 20 days after the resignation or death of the pope.
Cardinals must take an oath of secrecy. Votes are held by secret ballot 2 in the morning and 2 in the afternoon. Cardinals are not allowed to vote for themselves.
Black smoke indicates no two-thirds majority has been achieved while White smoke indicates that a new pope has been elected.
The elected candidate must formally agree to be the next pope.
The future pope chooses a name by which he wishes to be known.
He becomes Pontifex Maximus, the Holy Roman Pontiff.
The proto-decon a member of the college of cardonals declares:
‘Habemus Papam’ meaning ‘ We Have A New Pope’
The new pope then appears on the Vatican balcony.
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