Votive mass kicks off conclave
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VATICAN CITY -- The College of Cardinals begin the conclave Tuesday in which they will elect the next Pope of the Roman Catholic Church.
A votive mass was held earlier today at Saint Peter's Basilica to kick off the conclave.
The Sistine Chapel is where the 113 voting cardinals under the age of 80 will reside until the next pontiff is chosen. The conclave has been held in the Sistine Chapel since the 19th century.
Preparations there have taken place over the past week ahead of the conclave. An elevated platform has been installed as well as the seats the cardinals will take for the conclave.
The US holds 11 of the votes, which is the second largest national block after Italy.
The College of Cardinals met one last time yesterday ahead of today's conclave.
The cardinals are under a gag order to avoid any outside influence on voting cardinals. Church teaching says only the power of the Holy Spirit should influence their choice of pope.