Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga

Cardinals to undertake ancient, secretive task

VATICAN CITY - Tomorrow, 115 cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church will sequester themselves in the Vatican's Sistine Chapel for the beginning of the faith's most private and perhaps most important ritual, the election of a new pope.

They will dress in their traditional scarlet cassocks and hats, and, after a Mass and lunch, will file one by one into the 15th-century sanctuary, chanting an ancient ode to God.

They will have surrendered cell phones, radios and any other links to the outside, and they will swear on the Gospels never to speak of the proceedings about to transpire. Once inside, the cardinals will hear speeches from Vatican officials describing the state of the...