Conclave to Begin

The conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI will begin on Tuesday 12th March 2013 6pm Rome time (4am Wednesday EST).

The Cardinals will likely move into the Domus Sanctæ Marthæ (Saint Martha's House) on the afternoon of Monday 10th March. St. Martha's  is adjacent to St. Peter's Bascilica and is where the Cardinals will live, secluded from the world, during the Conclave.

The Vatican is employing high-tech measures to ensure the confidentiality of the conclave process. Jamming devices have been installed around the Sistine Chapel and St. Martha's to prevent electronic eavesdropping. Even the most tech-savvy of cardinals, many of whom have been tweeting regularly during pre-Conclave events, will be forced to accept a media blackout during the vote.

Cardinal Sodano, the 85-year-old former Secretary of State, will conclude his role by presiding at the conclave's opening Mass on the morning of Tuesday 12th. This Mass will be concelebrated by the 115 cardinal-electors who will, later that afternoon, formally process into the Sistine Chapel to hold the first round of voting for the next Bishop of Rome.

How is the Pope selected?