JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Cardinals from around the world held mass Tuesday morning at St. Peter’s Basilica before starting the election to choose a successor to retired Pope Benedict the Sixteenth. There is no clear leader, but there are a few front runners.
The 115 Cardinals are sequestered and expected to start voting at noon.
Tourists in St. Peter's square are already anticipating the smoke signal that will come from a chimney on the roof of the chapel. After each secret vote ballots will be burned in a stove.
Black smoke means voting will continue, and white smoke means they have chosen a new leader.
The Italian press named three potential front-runners including Brazil's Odilo Scherer, Italy's Angelo Scola and Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley.
But analysts say it is all speculation until the voting begins.
After the first vote, which is expected Tuesday afternoon, cardinals will vote four times each day until two thirds can agree on a candidate.