What happens in conclave, stays in conclave

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Tuesday 12, March 2013 | Category:   Church History
With the papal election now underway, the news media are dredging any number of papal-election history tidbits, including one about the longest ever, in 1268, when it took almost three years to elect Pope Gregory X. From that one we get the term conclave - "with key": It was going on so long that local officials locked the electors in with minimal food, water, and amenities to encourage a decision. Times - and accomodations - have changed, and these days cardinals don't take long to elect a pope; no conclave since 1831 has lasted longer than five days (thanks you Fr. Tom Reese, S.J. for that fact).

You can follow the Sistine Chapel chimney for the tell-tale smoke by live video and at @PapalSmokeStack or sign up for election alerts at Popealarm.com and at one of many apps, but don't expect any tweeting cardinals. They're all sworn, and I quote their oath, "not to break this secret in any way, either during or after the election of the new Pontiff, unless explicit authorization is granted by the same Pontiff."

Interested in how the cardinals vote? How about the conclave schedule?

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