Sistine Chapel closes to public

The Sistine Chapel was closed to the public as of 13.00 on Tuesday 5 March, in preparation for the upcoming conclave to elect a new pope, following the resignation of Benedict XVI on 28 February.

The announcement, which was made with little prior warning, came on the second day of the cardinals' pre-conclave meetings.

All but five of the 115 cardinal-electors have arrived in Rome. According to Vatican Radio the five yet to arrive are Cardinal Karl Lehmann of Mainz in Germany; Antonios Naguib, the Coptic Catholic Patriarch of Alexandria; Vietnam's Cardinal Pham Minh Man archbishop of Ho Chi Minh City; Hong Kong's Cardinal Tong Hon; Poland's Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz, archbishop of Warsaw.

Indonesian Cardinal Darmaatmadja absented himself from the conclave on health grounds while Scotland's Cardinal Keith O’Brien was forced to withdraw following the recent high-profile case which revealed that he had used “inappropriate behaviour” towards three priests and one ex-priest, an accusation he first denied and has subsequently admitted.

All of the cardinal-electors must be present in Rome before the date of the conclave can be set.

Wanted in Rome
Wanted in Rome
Wanted in Rome is a monthly magazine in English for expatriates in Rome established in 1985. The magazine covers Rome news stories that may be of interest to English and Italian speaking residents, and tourists as well. The publication also offers classifieds, photos, information on events, museums, churches, galleries, exhibits, fashion, food, and local travel.
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