No Pope or blessing as Cardinals gather to elect new Pontiff

Pope Benedict XVI gestures as he leads his last Sunday Angelus prayer before stepping down in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican

The Roman Catholic Church marked its first Sunday in nearly eight years without a papal blessing, as cardinals gathered to elect a new leader of the 1.2 billion-member faith in one of the most troubled periods of its history.

The windows of the papal apartments overlooking St. Peter’s Square were shut, which is normally the case only when a pope is outside Rome and delivers the Sunday blessing elsewhere.

There was no papal blessing of any kind, the first time the church has been in such a state of limbo since Sunday, April 3, 2005, the day after Pope John Paul died.

“It’s strange, very strange to come to Rome to St. Peter’s Square and not to hear the Angelus (Sunday blessing) of the pope, especially because the pope is still alive – it’s a unique situation that we are living through,” said Fabio Ferrara, who was one of the few people in the square at noon.

“We have been praying a lot, it’s sad, it is very, very sad, we feel like orphans,” said Sister Agnese Carreddu, an Italian nun in the square.

Catholics at Sunday masses throughout the world did not hear the customary prayer for “our pope, Benedict”. It will be omitted from every mass until there is a new pope.

On Monday cardinals will begin preliminary meetings, known as general congregations, to get to know each other, discuss church issues and decide the starting date of the closed-door conclave to choose Benedict’s successor.

The meetings are open to all cardinals, whereas only those under 80 can enter the Sistine Chapel and elect a new pope from their own ranks.

Currently 115 cardinal electors are due to take part in the conclave, which many believe will start around March 10.

The Vatican seems to be aiming for an election by mid-March so the new pope can be installed in office before Palm Sunday on March 24 and lead Holy Week services culminating in Easter the following Sunday.

No front-runner stands out and no campaigning is allowed for the election but leading candidates include Peter Turkson of Ghana, Leonardo Sandri of Argentina, Austrian Christoph Schoenborn, Brazil’s Odilo Scherer, Canadian Marc Ouellet and Angelo Scola, the leading candidate from Italy.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Local

K-9 nose helps capture $150K in cocaine at…

A furry, four-legged security agent helped authorities stop an illegal cocaine shipment from sneaking past JFK customs.

National

Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after…

A man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent.

National

Man sues hospital after surprise penis amputation

An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Movies

Review: Brett Ratner's big 'Hercules' movie is small…

The latest "Hercules," starring Dwayne Johnson as the half-god beefcake of Greek myth, strips its hero and tale of most of its fantastical elements.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

Going Out

Grab a pedestrian and start dancing at What…

As a New Yorker, I’ve mastered the art of focusing my gaze straight ahead. Though it occasionally piques my interest, the absurdities that play out…

U.S. Soccer

Orlando City takes shot at NYCFC over Frank…

Orlando City reminded the world how big a signing Brazilian star Kaka earlier this month with a photo of Kaka mobbed by fans juxtaposed against Lampard.

NBA

Jeremy Lin says 'Linsanity' is over as he…

Jeremy Lin lit up the NBA two years ago with his play for the Knicks but he has no desire to recreate "Linsanity" in his new career with the Lakers.

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.