Cardinals Launch Pope-Picking Process

New pontiff's new name will offer vital clues
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 4, 2013 2:46 AM CST
Updated Mar 4, 2013 7:41 AM CST
A red ribbon seals the door of the apartment of Pope Benedict XVI's Vatican apartment.   (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, ho)

(Newser) – Catholic cardinals from all over the world are gathering in Rome to begin the process of choosing a successor to Benedict XVI, who ended his papacy Thursday. The 115 cardinal electors will hold meetings this week ahead of a conclave next week in which one of them is expected to be elected as the new pontiff, the BBC reports. To ensure secrecy, debugging technicians will inspect their lodgings and mobile phones will be banned.

After the new pope is chosen, he will pick a name for himself and his choice will provide plenty of clues as to how he intends to lead the church, CNN finds. "Pius XIII" would signal that the new pontiff plans to emulate the very conservative Pius XII, while "John XXIV" would be a sign that sweeping reforms like those introduced by John XXIII's Second Vatican Council in 1962 are on the way. One name seen as extremely unlikely is Peter II: Popes shun the name out of respect for the first St. Peter, the Apostle, and because of a medieval prophecy that a Peter II will be the final pope. (Read more cardinals stories.)

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