The conclave to choose Pope Emertius Benedict's successor will begin Tuesday at the Vatican, USA Today reports.
Cardinals will be locked in the Sistine Chapel each day of the conclave, and will cast ballots for their choices four times a day until a winner is chosen with a two-thirds majority of the votes. The last conclave lasted just two days, and while experts expect this conclave to last longer, they speculate it won't last longer than three or four days. The last conclave to take more than four days was in 1831.
Many Vatican insiders have speculated that the next pope could come from outside of Europe, including Cardinals Timothy Dolan and Patrick O'Malley from the United States, and Cardinal Marc Ouellet from Canada. Vatican analysts have picked Cardinal O'Malley as the favorite, followed by Cardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer of Brazil and Angelo Scola of Italy, the Telegraph reports.
The conclave follows a week of meetings between the cardinals that have gained attention not for any standouts in the running to become pope, but for the questionable use of social media by the cardinals that has led to a complete technology blackout for the conclave. The 11 cardinals from the United States had been holding daily press briefings of their meetings, but were quickly stopped by traditional Vatican officials.
The new pope is expected to be chosen in time for Holy Week, when he will lead Catholic faithful around the world in celebrations leading to Easter Sunday.