VATICAN CITY—The conclave to elect a new Pope began on Tuesday at the Vatican. The voting process follows a set ritual every day until the Catholic Church has a new leader.
Here is an approximate schedule (local time is listed first):
10 a.m.-11:45 a.m. (5 p.m.-6:45 p.m., Manila time): Cardinals attend Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, then return to their Vatican hotel.
3:45 p.m. (10:45 p.m., Manila time): Cardinals travel from their hotel to the Apostolic Palace.
4:30 p.m. (11:30 p.m., Manila time): Procession from the Pauline Chapel into the Sistine Chapel.
4:45 p.m.-8 p.m. (11:45 p.m.-3 a.m., Wednesday, Manila time): Each cardinal takes an oath, most likely followed by the first vote. If the vote yields a new Pope, white smoke will emerge from the chimney; if not the smoke will be black.
8 p.m. (3 a.m., Wednesday, Manila time): Cardinals pray in the Sistine Chapel.
8:30 p.m. (3:30 a.m., Wednesday, Manila time): Cardinals return to their hotel.
WEDNESDAY AND ONWARD:
7:45 a.m. (2:45 p.m., Manila time): Cardinals travel to the Pauline Chapel.
8:15 a.m. (3:15 p.m., Manila time): Mass in the Pauline Chapel.
9:30 a.m. (4:30 p.m., Manila time): Prayer in the Sistine Chapel, voting starts.
12:30 p.m. (7:30 p.m., Manila time): Cardinals retire to their hotel for lunch.
4 p.m. (11 p.m., Manila time): Cardinals return to the Sistine Chapel.
4:50 p.m. (11:50 p.m., Manila time): Voting in the Sistine Chapel.
7:15 p.m. (2:15 a.m., Thursday, Manila time): Prayer in the Sistine Chapel.
7:30 p.m. (2:30 a.m., Thursday): Cardinals return to their hotel.
After every three full days of voting, the cardinals break for a day of prayer and reflection, then resume for another three days. The first pause will be on Saturday if no Pope has been selected before that.
The smoke, the mystery
Smoke will emerge from the chimney once at the end of the morning session—about 12 p.m. (7 p.m., Manila time)—and again at the end of the afternoon session—about 7 p.m. (2 a.m., Manila time).
But if an earlier vote yields a Pope, white smoke would emerge at that time, ending the conclave.
Once white smoke emerges from the chimney, a bell at the St. Peter’s Basilica rings. Within an hour, the man who was selected emerges onto the balcony and his identity is known.