7 Things to know about the papal conclave

7 Things to Know

March 11, 2013 8:38:01 AM PDT
The Cardinals will meet Monday to discuss the start of the papal conclave to vote on successors to Pope Benedict XVI. Here are 7 things to know about the conclave.

1) Only Cardinals under the age of 80 can vote in the conclave.

2) The Cardinals traditionally take one vote on the first day of the conclave, and then, if necessary, there are 4 votes each following day - two in the morning, two in the afternoon.

3) A papal candidate needs two thirds of the 115 Cardinal-elector votes to become pope.

4) Cardinals use paper ballots to cast their vote. Each ballot is pre-printed with the words 'I elect as Supreme Pontiff' written in Latin. Cardinals are encouraged to disguise their handwriting when writing down the candidate of their choice.

5) After each vote, the ballots are burned in a small stove inside the Sistine Chapel. A chemical mix produces either black or white smoke.

6) After gathering enough votes, a candidate officially becomes Pope the moment he formally 'accepts' the position.

7) Black smoke from the Sistine Chapel chimney indicates an inconclusive vote. White smoke means 'We have a Pope.'


Joe Torres is traveling to the Vatican to cover the papal conclave. You can see his reports on Eyewitness News and 7online, and follow him on Twitter at @JoeTorresABC7