Late this afternoon, Monsignor Guido Marini closed the doors to the Sistine Chapel and gave the 115 cardinal-electors the privacy and reflective quiet needed to begin the conclave that will choose the next pope. After weeks of intense media scrutiny, I'm sure that many of the electors were relieved to find themselves in a place where communication with the outside world has been rendered impossible both by the rules governing papal elections and by technology used to block wireless signals from entering the hallowed chapel.
After some very strange days, it somehow seems even stranger to think that we will likely have a new pope sometime in the next twenty-four to seventy-two hours. Though I do have a personal favorite among the various papabili, I humbly pray that the deliberations of the Sacred College will be guided by the Holy Spirit and that they will choose the very best man to lead the Catholic Church in these trying times. I hope that some who read these lines will join me in praying for this intention. AMDG.