By Jane Nambi
The papal conclave has begun today its search for a new pope after the surprise resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.
On Monday 12th, Catholic cardinals held their last meeting before the start of the conclave. During the meeting, the cardinals agreed on the qualities they are looking for in the next pope of the Catholic church.
Cardinals Angelo Scola of Italy and Odilo Scherer from Brazil were the favorites of the cardinals although the field is still open to new faces. The election of Pope Benedict in 2005 took place after cardinals took months, if not years, to discuss the succession of his predecessor, John Paul II. With the surprise resignation, cardinals have less time to get a new pope. They hope the new pope will be available for the Easter prayers which will take place at the end of the month.
The archbishop of Lyon, Cardinal Philippe Barbarin said, “Last time around, there was a man of stature three or four times that of any other cardinal. That is not the case this time around. Therefore, the choice has to be made among one, two, three, four, a dozen candidates. We still don’t really know anything. We will have to wait for the results of the first ballot.”
A Vatican spokesman said: “The expectations of the new pope and his profile was a recurring theme” in Monday’s speeches.
Catholics around the world are in prayer for the cardinals to be guided to choose the next pope. Cardinals involved in the conclave are 115 and of these, only 77 have to agree on a particular cardinal to be elected as a pope.