Conclave has begun! Experts are predicting that within a few days we will learn who is to be the new leader of the Catholic Church. Conclave is a ritual steeped in thousands of years of history. In the middle ages, conclaves could last years or months, and cardinals would occasionally die under the harsh conditions. In conclave, the cardinals are completely enclosed, with no communication with the outside world. They express the progress of the election via smoke signals.

If you are following conclave, the cardinals release smoke after each election is undertaken. If no majority is reached, they release black smoke to signify that no pope has been chosen. Once a pope has been elected, the cardinals release white smoke.

Here are some links if you’re interested in this story:

http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2013/03/12/3713246.htm

http://www.wjla.com/articles/2013/03/conclave-2013-throngs-gather-at-st-peter-s-square-86111.html

http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/03/12/cardinals-call-for-unity-prior-to-conclave-canadian-among-frontrunner-to-be-named-pope/

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/damianthompson/100206633/conclave-2013-a-battle-between-rome-and-reform/

http://bostinno.com/2013/03/12/live-stream-papal-conclave-2013-watch-the-papal-conclave-2013-live-stream-video/

Who do you think will win? Let me know in the comments section!

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