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...a sweatshop of moxie

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Second Ballot and Timetable Conjecturing

Black smoke was seen at 5:52 AM EDT, shortly before midday CET.

And when I say "black smoke", I am using the word charitably, because for a brief moment (but not forgetting that JP II ordered bells to toll alongside the white smoke), I thought we had Habemus Papam. Whatever chemicals the attendants used yesterday to make that smoke charcoal black, needs replenishing, because that was too close for comfort for us all.

Right, none of us is privy to the balloting in the Sistine Chapel, but we can more or less now gauge the Cardinals' timetable, to give us an idea of what will happen, as the week unfolds.

1- The Cardinals, being cloistered within Vatican grounds in the Santa Martha Annex, must be awoken at 7 AM or so. They probably sleep at 11 PM, having been given at least 2 hours of personal down time to meditate, etc.

2- They probably are given 2 hours for their ablutions, and breakfast, followed by Matins, or morning Mass (let us not forget that a typical prelate spends almost 5-7 hours in active prayer per day, as regulated by the Offices).

3- They are then transported to the Sistine Chapel around 9 AM, and shut in there to deliberate for 3 hours, give or take. Most people can't do more than a few hours at a time of acute argumentation, canvassing, and then voting, so that time frame seems logical to me.

4- If no 2/3's majority is decided, the 115 Cardinals must then break for lunch, Vespers, and back to the grind at 3 PM.

5- This must be followed by at least 4 hours of more intense debate, possibly with camps being formed around the room, self-proclaimed emissaries scurrying back-and-forth, with notes, and requests for elucidation of positions, etc. Each total ballot has two separate votes, so as of now, we're at 3.

6- A vote around 8 PM as Monday's was, and a break for dinner. Then more prayers and to bed, as mentioned above, in Point 1.

7- As the narrowing down process gets more heated, I daresay, the pace will be quicker.

What I find a bit dodgy, and wish the tradition hadn't changed, is this annex business. I understand why the late Holy Father changed the rule (for solicitude of their needs), but I still don't like it.

Does anyone else agree, or am I just being paranoid that they are not cloistered as was the custom for hundreds of years?

That's the whole point of a Conclave (cum clave, "we have shut you in with a key, buh-bye"), to my mind.

Goodness knows what I think will happen. Maybe they will catch a brief glimpse of a telly screen as they are being shuttled around, and be unduly influenced by it or something...

Either way, I just wish their sleeping arrangements were static, but it's easy for me to say that, in the comfort of my 700-count Pratesi sheets.


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