The so-called smoke watch begins Tuesday night. After dark, lights will shine on a chimney on top of the Sistine Chapel.
Black smoke means voting continues. White smoke and church bells means a new pope has been chosen.
Cardinals who will elect the next pope have decided to cut short their last day of informal discussions before starting their conclave tomorrow.
Vatican Officials say they voted to end their deliberations even though some still wanted to speak. Spokesman The Reverend Thomas Rosica says most felt they had "enough information."
The cardinal electors begin their conclave tomorrow -- proceeding into the Sistine Chapel, whose doors will be shut before balloting begins.
Since last Monday, cardinals have been airing their thoughts on what kind of man to choose -- a strong manager to overhaul a scandal-plagued Vatican bureaucracy, or a charismatic priest who can inspire the faithful.
There are said to be about a dozen leading candidates. The three frontrunners named in the Italian press are: Boston Cardinal Sean O'malley, Odilo Scherer from Brazil and Italy's Angelo Scola.
In this morning's session, the cardinals got a rundown on efforts to clean up after one of those scandals: allegations of money laundering at the Vatican bank.
The exact length of the conclave is unknown. They often take 2 to 3 days.
We can expect the new pope to take over by Easter.
Thursday, May 23 2013 2:59 AM EDT2013-05-23 06:59:26 GMT
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