Vol. 5 Num 317 Mon. April 18, 2005  

Cardinals gather for Conclave to elect pope

Roman Catholic cardinals started to move into sequestered lodgings Sunday ahead of a momentous conclave to elect the successor to Pope John Paul II.

The 115 eligible cardinals will enter the secretive conclave in the Sistine Chapel Monday with no clear favourite to take over the reins of the 1.1 billion-member Church.

Some of the red-hatted "princes of the church" held public Masses around a rainswept Rome Sunday, refusing to speculate on the vote and underlining the spiritual nature of their quest.

"People think that we are going to vote like in an election. But this is something completely different. We are going to listen to the Lord and listen to the Holy Spirit," said Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras.