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
News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

News

Mets mascot Mr. Met target of Bill Clinton…

Mets mascot Mr. Met has told how he ended up in the crosshairs of a Secret Service sniper rifle. The man behind the Mr. Met…

Local

Oval oasis: Summer of fun kicks off this…

A bold partnership between the Fairmount Park Conservancy and the city's Parks and Recreation Department is kicking off this weekend with family activities re-activating this unused public space.

Local

African couple claiming misidentification in robbery case to…

At a bail hearing today for Vickson and Lorfu Korlewala, charged in the robbery of an 80-year-old woman, bail was reduced from $1 million total to $500,000.

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

Movies

Review: 'Transcendence' is not stupid but sometimes lacks…

The cyberthriller "Transcendence" explores artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and other ethical quandaries, but has too much ambition, if anything.

Television

Dick Wolf to bring fictionalized world of 'Law…

A&E has ordered a pilot called "D.O.A." from "Law and Order" mastermind Dick Wolf that will focus on real detectives reexamining cold cases. A trio…

Television

Shane West talks WGN America's 'Salem'

The actor on history lessons, a new network and showing his butt.

NHL

Rangers draw first blood against Flyers in Game…

Brad Richards and Derek Stepan scored power-play goals 47 seconds apart to lead the Rangers to a 4-1 win.

MLB

Jimmy Rollins is key to Phillies success

When John Kruk was asked about what the Phillies need to contend for a playoff berth, the ESPN analyst said Jimmy Rollins needs to play like a MVP again.

MLB

Ben Revere lifts Phillies to avoid sweep

Ben Revere came through with a two-out RBI single against Atlanta’s tough lefthander Alex Wood.

NBA

Season wrap: 76ers make the grade

The 76ers opened the 2013-14 season with a victory over the Miami Heat. The Sixers closed the season with a win at Miami.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.

Travel

Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.

Tech

Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.