- Melissa Thigpen
Most Catholics and many noncatholics have had their eyes turned to Rome, or more accurately, the Vatican today as the Conclave began this morning. The election of a new Pope is always an important event closely watched by millions around the world but this Conclave is groundbreaking in more ways than one. The resignation of Benedict XVI was surprising, even shocking, to a community grappling with so many difficult changes and challenges in recent years. For the first time the Sistine Chapel, traditional site of the Conclave, has been secured against all types of electronic communication and social media. At the same time, televison cameras were allowed in the Sistine Chapel documenting the procession of red robed Cardinals as the Litany of Saints was read and then the taking of the Oath of Secrecy by each participant. Finally the order was given, "Extra omnes" or, everyone out, and the chapel doors were closed and locked.