Articles of Faith

At the Vatican, still no date set for conclave to choose a new pope

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ROME—Welcome. Articles of Faith, the Globe’s religion blog, is back—and in Rome to cover the election of the successor to Pope Benedict XVI.

Everyone here is anxiously awaiting word of when the conclave will begin. The big news so far today is that all of the cardinals are finally here.

The College of Cardinals has been holding confidential meetings since Monday to discuss the issues confronting the church and begin formulating ideas about who might be the best choice for pontiff. The cardinals had to wait until all 115 electors arrived to set a conclave date. Cardinal Jean-Baptiste Pham Minh Man of Vietnam arrived in Rome today, so they can finally proceed.

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A Vatican spokesman told reporters early this afternoon, however, that the probability of a date being announced tonight was “more no than yes.” But late this afternoon, there seemed to be movement, at least in the Twittersphere. A Jesuit seminarian tweeted about the disappearance of the papal garments from the window of Gamarrelli. The famous Roman tailor makes a new set of white papal garments in three sizes—one of which the new pope will don just after he is elected.

Cardinal Roger Mahony, the retired archbishop of Los Angeles, who has ignored calls by lay groups to recuse himself from voting because of his failure to remove abusive priests from office, tweeted this afternoon: “Days of General Congregations reaching a conclusion. Setting of the date for conclave nearing. Mood of excitement prevails among cardinals.”

The Rev. Federico Lombardi, spokesman for the Vatican, told reporters this afternoon that if the cardinals set a date later in the day, he would announce it after 7 p.m. Rome time (that’s 1 p.m. Boston time).

But the Vatican just confirmed: No date yet.

The cardinals will be back at it tomorrow.

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