As the Cardinals wrap up a special mass at the Vatican for the election of a new pope, “Early Start” is joined by Monsignor Richard Hilgartner, the Head of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Secretariat on Divine Worship.
Cardinals from every corner of the earth will take an oath of secrecy to begin the election process for the next leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics. Then, the eyes of the world will be on the copper chimney above the Sistine Chapel. While a vote is expected to take place today, it’s all but guaranteed that black smoke will billow instead of white, indicating an inconclusive vote. Monsignor Hilgartner explains the significance of the first ballot and how the voting process works.
Msgr. Hilgartner says the first vote helps to officially establish the names of potential candidates. Prior to today, the cardinals “only talked about broad concepts of issues and concerns. They really don't know who they're voting for until that first ballot is cast and they start to read off the ballots, and they see,” Hilgartner says. “Then they really see the consensus, the sense of the group, and really see what the trends are looking like.”