Sistine Chapel ready for papal conclave

April 17, 2005 at 7:38 AM
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, Vatican City, April 17 (UPI) -- All is ready at Vatican City's Sistine Chapel for the papal conclave -- including a false floor that holds equipment to thwart bugs and cell phones.

Twelve tables have been placed to accommodate the 115 cardinal electors from 52 countries and, for the first time, a backup furnace has been installed next to the old conclave furnace. The new furnace works electronically and uses chemicals to enhance the color of the smoke that will spout from the Sistine rooftop, the Detroit Free Press reported Sunday.

Black smoke means no pope has been chosen, but white smoke indicates a new leader has been chosen for the 1 billion Roman Catholics worldwide.

Monday afternoon the cardinals will file into the Sistine Chapel in a procession that the Vatican said would be televised live.

However, once in the chapel, everything is done behind closed doors and the cardinals take an oath of secrecy.

During the conclave, the cardinals will celebrate mass in the morning and enter the Sistine Chapel by 9 a.m. local time each day. They will vote twice in the morning and twice in the afternoon until a pope is elected.

During early balloting a two-thirds vote is necessary to select a pope, but if there's a stalemate after about 12 days the cardinals can decide to elect by a simple majority.

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