Cardinals gathered in Rome are waiting for the last Cardinal elector to arrive from Vietnam, as work on the Sistine Chapel continued in preparation for the conclave to elect a new pope. (March 6)
SOURCE - RESTRICTION: AP Television - AP Clients Only
Location - Date: VATICAN CITY - March 6
1. Various of workers inside the Sistine Chapel
2. Various of Cardinals leaving meetings
Cardinals gathered in Rome were still waiting on Wednesday for the last Cardinal elector to arrive, as talks continued in preparation for the conclave to elect a new pope.
The Vatican said only one voting-age cardinal remained absent, Vietnamese Cardinal Jean-Baptiste Pham Minh Man.
Vatican spokesman Reverend Federico Lombardi said he was expected on Thursday, meaning a date for the start of the conclave could be decided then.
Meantime the Sistine Chapel has closed to visitors as all cardinal-electors of the Roman Catholic church pursue the "deep and unhurried process" of preparing for papal conclave.Construction work at the Sistine Chapel began.Before the chapel plays host to the cardinal-electors, it needs a false floor, to level out the surface and hide anti-bugging devices. There will be two stoves in the chapel, one in which the cardinals' ballots will be burned and another in which the smoke used to make a signal will be created, with the help of additional chemicals
Also on Wednesday, the US cardinals in Rome for the conclave cancelled their popular daily press briefings, purportedly after some details of the secret proceedings under way ahead of the election were leaked to Italian newspapers.
The Vatican denied it had exerted any pressure on the American cardinals to keep quiet.
But Lombardi made clear that the Holy See considered this week's pre-conclave meetings, in which cardinals are discussing the problems of the church, to be secret and part of a solemn process to choose a pope.
The Americans were the only cardinals who were holding daily briefings; other individual cardinals have given occasional interviews to individual media.