Conclave to elect a new Pope to begin Tuesday

Posted at: 03/09/2013 3:08 PM
Updated at: 03/10/2013 3:29 PM
By: Dan Bazile

The conclave to elect a new Pope begins on Tuesday. Christians around the world and here in the Capital Region are praying this weekend for the selection process. Father Ken Doyle from the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese says there seems to be no clear cut choice this time around.

The excitement is building for Catholics as the election for a new leader of the Catholic Church is about to begin.

“It's very exciting, not just for Catholics. I think for many people throughout the world,” says Father Ken Doyle, Albany Catholic Diocese.

Father Doyle says people of all faiths are looking with interest at this conclave. Scandals of clergy sexual abuse has, perhaps, elevated the importance of the papal election.

“You might think that because the church is just emerging from the crisis of clergy sex abuse that it’s a particularly important time for the church to have a sense of its direction, and to go forward on a positive path,” but Father Doyle says every age has its crisis.

It might be tough this time around for the cardinals to reach a consensus. He says it's anybody's guess right now who the next Pope will be. As an American priest, he's pulling for Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York.

“Cardinal Dolan is the first person I've ever considered as a realistic possibility to be elected,” says Doyle.

However, conventional wisdom tells him the Pope will not come from a superpower. He says there's never been a Pope from the American continents, Asia or Africa. And maybe the time has come.

Doyle says he's not expecting the election to take a long time. No conclaves in recent history have lasted more than five days.

“There was a conclave in the 1200's that went 2 years and 3 months, but I don't think we're in for that,” says Father Doyle.

White smoke will appear from a newly installed chimney at the Sistine Chapel. Doyle says it was a little confusing back in 2005 when Benedict became pope.

“In 2005 there were some puffs of smoke at one point that were hard to figure,” he says.

But this time he says new chemicals have been added to make sure there are no mixed signals.