Reports on the Conclave of Cardinals from Chicago

Campaign-Style Posters Boost Ghana Cardinal

Cardinals forbidden from openly lobbying to be chosen as Pope

By Mary Ann Ahern
|  Friday, Mar 1, 2013  |  Updated 9:16 PM CDT
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Cardinals Prepare for Conclave

Mary Ann Ahern

Campaign style posters appeared in Rome this week.

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Cardinals Prepare for Conclave

The Roman Catholic Church is without a Pope as Pope Benedict Emeritus started his first full day of retirement Friday. The cardinals have received an official letter to begin their meetings on Monday but no date has been set for the conclave to elect Benedict's successor. Mary Ann Ahern reports.
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It's a first!

Campaign-style posters appeared in Rome Friday touting the candidacy of Ghana Cardinal Peter Turkson for Pope.  

It's not clear who produced them. Cardinals are forbidden from openly lobbying to be chosen as Pope.  Turkson is considered one of the front-runners to succeed Benedict XVI.  

Just yesterday, Turkson handed the Pope Emeritus a letter in their final meeting.  

While he now lives in Rome, Turkson is from Africa, where the number of Roman Catholics has grown by 20 percent the past five years.

Vatican expert George Weigel however says there are "no clear front-runners" and he believes there are "15 to 20 names" that may show up on the first ballot.

Chicago's Cardinal Francis George says one of the top priorities for the Cardinals is to clean house at the Vatican.   He notes "there is a crisis of confidence" and points to the Vatileaks scandal when Benedict's personal letters were "purloined from his desk." 

George is not signaling if he favors one candidate over another. 

The Congregation meetings begin on Monday allowing the cardinals to discuss the issues and direction the church should take.  

At some point they will also set the date for the conclave, that's when the votes are cast.   As Cardinal George sees it, "we'd like to have a Pope before Easter."

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