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March 11th, 2013
06:30 AM ET

Monsignor Rick Hilgartner: Many would say papal conclave is about politics, but also a very spiritual moment

In just 24 hours, the world could potentially have a new pope. Starting tomorrow, 115 Roman Catholic cardinals will walk from their home away from home—the Santa Marta residence at the Vatican—to the Sistine Chapel for conclave.  That walk will be taken twice a day, every day, until they elect a new pope.

Monsignor Rick Hilgartner, head of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Secretariat on Divine Worship, talks with John Berman on “Early Start” on the upcoming conclave. He explains the conclave's tradition, the ceremony, the secrecy, the preparations and more. He will be joining “Early Start” all week as we watch conclave unfold.

One day out until the voting begins, Monsignor Hilgartner discusses the process and the feeling in Rome today among the cardinals. "Many would say it's all about politics at this point," Monsignor Hilgartner says, "but I think it's important to remember that they also recognize that this is a very spiritual moment." Once the doors close and conclave begins, he says it’s less about politicking and “more about prayer as they each in silence write their votes.”

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Filed under: Conclave • Pope • Vatican
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