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 CNS Story:

Period between popes includes many important elements

By Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Here are the most important elements of the "interregnum" or transition period between popes.

-- With the pope's death, the College of Cardinals assumes governance of the church.

-- The Roman Curia loses most cardinal supervisors and cannot act on new matters.

-- The College of Cardinals begins daily meetings at the Vatican to deal with limited church business, funeral and conclave arrangements.

-- The pope's body is displayed for homage by the faithful in St. Peter's Basilica, with funeral and burial four to six days after his death.

-- Under-80 cardinals enter into conclave 15-20 days after the pope's death.

-- Voting for a new pope proceeds with two ballots each morning and afternoon; a two-thirds majority is needed to elect.

-- If voting is inconclusive after 33 ballots (about 12 days), cardinals may decide to elect a new pope by simple majority.

-- Shortly after the pope is elected, his name is announced and he offers his first blessing to the world in St. Peter's Square.


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