Papal conclave starts with all eyes on smoke stack - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

Papal conclave starts with all eyes on smoke stack

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By Stefanie Bainum
sbainum@abcnews4.com

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) – Local Catholic Church leaders say now is the time for parishioners to pray that the right man will be chosen for the job as leader of the Catholic Church.

A special mass is being held at 12:05 on Tuesday at St. John the Baptist Cathedral on Broad Street in downtown Charleston to mark the start of the papal conclave. At Tuesday's mass, Bishop of Charleston Robert Guglielmone will lead a prayer for the cardinals as they begin the process of electing a new leader to the church with more than a billion followers worldwide.

The papal conclave is made up of 115 cardinals, 11 of them from the United States. Before the cardinals begin the secret conclave, a mass will be held at St. Peter's Square in Vatican City.

Here in our own Holy City, Father Edward Fitzgerald of the Divine Redeemer Catholic Church in Hanahan says the conclave, as we know it, has been around since 1274 and that the decision to elect a new Pope will likely take a few days.

"If it's white smoke then we'll know we have a new pope, if it's black smoke than we continue on until the next day," Father Edward Fitzgerald says. "Seventy-seven votes are needed for the new pope to be elected. After 34 votes what happens is they take the top two candidates and whoever has the most votes wins."

"Our next Holy Father, whomever it will be, I think needs to be a man of prayer and faith because without prayer and faith he will probably not be the type of shepherd that God wants him to be," Father Fitzgerald said. "The church is looking for a man of prayer and faith and also a man that listens and understands and perhaps can relate to our young people as well."

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