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Conclave to Elect New Pope Will Begin Tuesday - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Conclave to Elect New Pope Will Begin Tuesday

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VATICAN CITY (AP) - The Vatican said Friday the conclave to elect a new pope will start on Tuesday, signaling that cardinals are coming to an end of discussions about the state of the church and who best among them might lead it.

Cardinals voted Friday afternoon on the opening date of the conclave, a vote made possible by the arrival Thursday of the last of the 115 cardinal electors, Vietnamese Cardinal Jean-Baptiste Pham Minh Man.

In the past 100 years, no conclave has lasted longer than five days. That said, there doesn't appear to be a front-runner in this election, and the past week of deliberations has exposed sharp divisions among cardinals about some of the pressing problems facing the church, including of governance within the Holy See itself.

U.S. Cardinal Timothy Dolan, considered a papal contender, said in a blog post Friday that most of the discussions in the closed-door meetings covered preaching and teaching the Catholic faith, tending to Catholic schools and hospitals, protecting families and the unborn, and supporting priests "and getting more of them!"

"Those are the 'big issues,'" he wrote. "You may find that hard to believe, since the 'word on the street' is that all we talk about is corruption in the Vatican, sexual abuse, money. Do these topics come up? Yes! Do they dominate? No!"

Early in the week, the Americans had been pressing for more time to get to the bottom of the level of dysfunction and corruption in the Holy See's governance that were exposed by the leaks of papal documents last year. But by Thursday afternoon, Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles tweeted that the discussions were "reaching a conclusion" and that a mood of "excitement" was taking hold.

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