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Conclave To Elect New Pope Begins March 12

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White smoke vents up from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel meaning that cardinals had elected a new leader after a conclave lasting little more than 24 hours, April 19, 2005 at Vatican City. (Photo credit THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images)

White smoke vents up from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel meaning that cardinals had elected a new leader after a conclave lasting little more than 24 hours, April 19, 2005 at Vatican City. (Photo credit THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images)

Papal Conclave

VATICAN CITY (CBS) – The long-awaited conclave to elect the next pope will begin March 12, the Vatican announced Friday.

Read: What is the conclave?

The College of Cardinals made the decision during a vote Friday afternoon.

The conclave will begin with a Mass Tuesday morning, followed by the first secret voting in the Sistine Chapel in the afternoon.

Read: Who Is Cardinal Sean O’Malley?

115 cardinals are eligible to vote in the election, including Boston Archbishop Sean Cardinal O’Malley.

The Cardinals will take an oath to maintain secrecy and follow the apostolic constitution.  They must remain behind closed doors until a new pope is elected.

Photos: WBZ-TV in Rome

Each time the cardinals vote, they burn their ballots. Black smoke indicates they haven’t reached a majority yet.

If a new pope has been chosen, the smoke will be white.

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