College of Cardinals Meet for 2nd Day to Prepare for Election of Pope John Paul II's SuccessorVATICAN CITY Apr 5, 2005 — The College of Cardinals met Tuesday for a second day to prepare for the election of Pope John Paul II's successor, which will be announced by a ringing of bells in addition to the centuries-old practice of sending up puffs of white smoke.
Tens of thousands of mourners, meanwhile, continued to stream past the pontiff's crimson-robed body in St. Peter's Basilica, where it has lain in state since Monday, and an estimated 2 million Poles were expected to travel to Rome for Friday's funeral.
Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said the cardinals hadn't yet decided on a date for the conclave, which according to church law must occur between 15 and 20 days after the death of a pope.
The cardinals have not yet read John Paul's spiritual testament, he said. They spent Tuesday continuing to work out details of the funeral, in which John Paul will be laid to rest with regal pageantry near the tomb that is traditionally believed to be that of the first pope, St. Peter.
Navarro-Valls said 91 of the 183 cardinals were in Rome as of Tuesday. Only 117 of them those under the age of 80 can vote in a conclave.
Brazilian Cardinal Geraldo Majella Agnelo, archbishop of Sao Salvador da Bahia, told Italian state radio Tuesday that he thought a new pope would be chosen quickly.
"I don't think it will be a long conclave," he said, adding that cardinals would have had time to reflect beforehand and should already have "clear ideas" when they begin the balloting. Asked if he was "papabile," or having the qualities of a pope, he answered, "I have always said my shoulders were too small for such a heavy weight."
When a new pope is elected, the ringing of bells will accompany the traditional signal of white smoke, the Vatican said.
Archbishop Piero Marini, master of ceremonies for liturgical celebrations, said the bells were being added to avoid confusion over the color of the smoke coming from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel. Black smoke signals no decision has been made, while white smoke means a pope has been elected.