Cardinals announce start date of conclave

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VATICAN CITY -- A Vatican spokesman has announced that a conclave to elect the successor to Pope Benedict XVI will begin on Tuesday afternoon.

That morning a special Mass to pray for the election will be held in St. Peter's Basilica.

The cardinals will have moved into the Domus Sanctae Marthae -- House of St. Martha -- a Vatican guest residence, which has already been sealed with film over the windows so no one can see in.

The cardinals made the decision about the date on the first day in which all 115 electors were present. They had been meeting formally since Monday. Before he abdicated on Feb. 28 Pope Benedict XVI changed the rules to allow the cardinals to enter the conclave earlier than 15 days after the papacy became vacant, since time wasn't needed for a funeral and extended memorial Masses.

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Ann Rodgers: arodgers@post-gazette.com


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