International

At The Vatican, 'No Rush' To Set Conclave; And A Fake Bishop Tries To Get In

Roman Catholic cardinals are in "no rush" to set the date for the start of their conclave that will choose the next pope, a Vatican spokesman told reporters Tuesday.

According to Vatican Radio, 110 of the 115 cardinals who are eligible to vote are now in Rome. It adds that "Fr. Federico Lombardi ... one of the few people present during the congregations [pre-conclave meetings of the cardinals] ... added that he sensed that the cardinals want to 'understand how long is needed to properly prepare for such an important event without hurrying things in anyway.' He added that the fact that the cardinals have opted not to hold afternoon sessions Tuesday and Wednesday in the general congregations is 'significant' of the cardinals intention to take their time."

Update at 11:15 a.m. ET: NPR's Sylvia Poggioli tells our Newscast Desk that on Tuesday, "cardinals from outside Rome asked their colleagues from the Curia — the Vatican administration — for information on governance. A leaks scandal last year exposed the Curia as a dysfunctional hotbed of corruption and cronyism. Contrasts are emerging between the Curia cardinals and outsiders over the conclave start date. Many visiting cardinals say they want as much time as possible to discuss issues and viable papal candidates."

Our original post continues:

It has been expected that the conclave to choose a successor to the now-retired Pope Benedict XVI will begin next week. As The New York Times says, the cardinals are moving "deliberately but inexorably." The Vatican did today close the Sistine Chapel, where the cardinals will gather for the conclave.

Meanwhile, on Monday "a man dressed in fake ecclesiastical robes was escorted out of a meeting of Catholic cardinals by Swiss Guards after trying to sneak into the closed-door Vatican meeting," as Australia's ABC News reports. His black fedora (instead of a cap) was one of the hints that he wasn't what he pretended to be. The International Business Times says he's really a German man, Ralph Napierski.

The appearance of such an imposter is one sign of how much attention the papal selection process is getting. Then there's this: The Vatican says there are now more than 5,000 journalists covering the news from there.

That's not a real bishop on the left: A man later identified as Ralph Napierski of Germany (at left) posed with Cardinal Sergio Sebiastiana and others on Monday at the Vatican. Napierski was an imposter. He was later escorted from the area by Swiss Guards. i i

That's not a real bishop on the left: A man later identified as Ralph Napierski of Germany (at left) posed with Cardinal Sergio Sebiastiana and others on Monday at the Vatican. Napierski was an imposter. He was later escorted from the area by Swiss Guards. Vincenzo Pinto /AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Vincenzo Pinto /AFP/Getty Images
That's not a real bishop on the left: A man later identified as Ralph Napierski of Germany (at left) posed with Cardinal Sergio Sebiastiana and others on Monday at the Vatican. Napierski was an imposter. He was later escorted from the area by Swiss Guards.

That's not a real bishop on the left: A man later identified as Ralph Napierski of Germany (at left) posed with Cardinal Sergio Sebiastiana and others on Monday at the Vatican. Napierski was an imposter. He was later escorted from the area by Swiss Guards.

Vincenzo Pinto /AFP/Getty Images

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