2A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, April 18, 2005
Cardinals gather for conclave NEWS IN BRIEF
VATICAN CITY (AP) - Bring-
ing their suitcases and personal
views on the future of the church,
the cardinals who will select the
next pope settled in their rooms yes-
terday in the Vatican hotel that will
be their home until the world's 1.1
billion Roman Catholics have a new
The conclave starts today after
the 115 red-robed cardinals join a
formal procession into the Sistine
Chapel, where efforts to maintain
the secrecy of deliberations have
included installing jamming devices
to foil sophisticated eavesdropping
But the cardinals' arrival at the
$20 million Domus Sanctae Mar-
thae took them into the imposed
isolation of the papal election -
which has not lasted longer than
five days in the past century but
remains an open-ended process.
The last conclave in 1978 took eight
ballots over three days to choose
Pope John Paul II.
"The new pope has already been
chosen by the Lord. We just have
to pray to understand who he is,"
Florence Cardinal Ennio Antonelli
told the congregation at St. Andrea
delle Fratte, his titular church a
short stroll from Rome's famous
The cardinals have much to pon-
der following the third-longest papa-
cy in history.
This conclave feels the full weight
of the church's modern challenges,
including the influence of Islam,
competition from evangelical Chris-
tians, the fallout from priest sex
scandals, the roles of women and the
need to reconcile Vatican teachings
that ban condom use with worries
about AIDS. They also must seek a
global pastor with enough charisma
to flourish in an image-driven age.
For the first time, credible papal
contenders come from at least three
distinct regions: Europe, Africa and
One by one, in cars driven by
The College of Cardinals is holding daily meetings ahead of a secret vote later this month to elect a suc-
cessor to Pope John Paul 11.
AA , Iraq
Iraqis defuse kidnapping standoff
Iraqi security forces backed by U.S. troops had the town of Madain sur-
rounded yesterday after reports of Sunni militant kidnappings of as many
as 100 Shiite residents, but there were growing indications the incident had
been grossly exaggerated, perhaps an outgrowth of a tribal dispute or politi-
The town of about 1,000 families, evenly divided between Shiites and Sun-
nis, sits about 15 miles south of the capital in what the U.S. military has
called the "Triangle of Death" because it has become a roiling stronghold of
the militant insurgency.
An AP photographer and television cameraman who were in or near the town
yesterday said large numbers of Iraqi forces had sealed it off, supported by U.S.
forces farther away outside Madain.
The cameraman said he toured the town yesterday morning. People were going
about their business normally, shops were open and tea houses were full, he said.
Residents contacted by telephone also said everything was normal in Madain.
And American military officials said they were unaware of any U.S. role in what
had been described as a tense sectarian standoff in which the Sunni militants were
threatening to kill their Shiite captives if all other Shiites did not leave the town.
G7 countries offer plans to erase debt
Concluding two days of talks, finance officials from the leading economic pow-
ers pressed ahead yesterday on efforts to wipe out poor nations' debts and hoped to
complete a deal later this year.
Officials insisted they were making progress. But international aid groups, dis-
appointed by the failure to finalize an agreement this weekend, accused the major
industrialized countries of dragging their feet and said further delay could worsen
the plight of the world's poorest people.
Erasing the crushing debt load was among the issues discussed by finance rep-
resentatives at the meetings of the 184-nation World Bank and the International
The concept won the endorsement of financial leaders from the world's seven
wealthiest countries - the United States, Japan, Germany, France, Britain, Italy
and Canada - who met Saturday in Washington.
Both the United States and Britain have offered competing plans, but officials
have failed to settle differences, mainly over how to pay for debt relief.
NEVE DEKALI Gaza Strip
Activists converge on Gaza before pullout
As Israel works to persuade some of the 8,500 Gaza settlers to leave volun-
tarily before the pullout begins July 20, more people keep moving in. Sympa-
thetic families are coming with moving vans, hawkish politicians are renting
homes and busloads of ultra-Orthodox students are establishing new religious
schools, or yeshivas.
It is unclear how many people have moved in so far, but local activists expect
many more to arrive during the weeklong Passover holiday beginning Saturday
night. Some predict as many as 100,000 sympathizers could come in a show of sol-
idarity, with thousands of them staying. One group has started stockpiling donated
sleeping bags, tents and canned food for the new arrivals.
SANTA MARIA, Calif.
Accuser's mother theatrical on witness stand
In a riveting episode of courtroom drama, the mother of Michael Jackson's
accuser sobbed, snapped her fingers, affected a German accent, implored jurors
not to judge her and exclaimed: "I've waited two years for this!"
If Jackson's child molestation trial were being televised, some might have scoffed
that she was playing to the cameras. But there are no cameras inside this trial, which
is shaping up as one of the wildest in California's colorful history of jurisprudence.
The boy's mother is not the first witness in the trial's six weeks to treat the
courtroom as a personal stage. Comedians kept the mood light with wisecracks,
a lawyer sparred verbally with an attorney questioning him, and even the judge
has been known to offer a few quips.
aides through a steady rain, the car-
dinals arrived at the gates of Vatican
City. They were saluted by a single
Swiss Guard, wearing a dark foul-
weather cloak over his traditional
purple-gold-and-red uniform. The
cars passed over the gray cobble-
stones to the hotel - which John
Paul ordered built to end the spartan
and makeshift quarters arranged for
The rules of the conclave are
strict: no phones, television, publi-
cations or outside contact. All staff
- including cooks, maids, eleva-
tor operators and drivers who will
shuttle them the few hundred yards
from the hotel to the Sistine Chapel
- have taken vows of silence.
For the first time ever, cardi-
nals will be allowed to move about
Vatican City freely once the voting
starts, though they are forbidden
to talk to anyone who hasn't been
sworn to secrecy. The penalty is
severe - excommunication.
At the North American College
seminary, some of the 11 U.S. car-
dinals joining the conclave posed
for a group photograph before mak-
ing the five-minute trip to the Vati-
can. Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los
Angeles carried a set of red robes
in a clear garment bag and a small
overnight bag hung from one shoul-
der. They made no comments to
The Turin daily newspaper La
Stampa reported that many cardi-
nals, preparing for a stressful stretch
ahead, had packed compact disc
players and headphones along with
prayer books and their red hats.
Other prelates, it reported, brought
along favorite snacks.
The public will get one more
chance to view the cardinals before
they begin their deliberations. This
morning, a special Mass at St. Peter's
Basilica is scheduled in the memory
of John Paul, who died April 2 at the
age of 84 and is buried with many
other popes in the grottoes reached
by stairs near the altar.
Later in the day, the cardinals
will gather in the Apostolic Palace
for a procession to the Sistine Cha-
pel while chanting a hymn seeking
inspiration from the Holy Spirit.
The cardinals then hear a prayer
in Latin by the dean of the Col-
lege of Cardinals, German Cardinal
Joseph Ratzinger, to be guided "in
our hearts in love and in patience."
Ratzinger, 78, is considered a pos-
sible papal candidate.
Once inside the chapel, the prel-
ates can decide to hold a single bal-
lot. If not, they will begin voting
tomorrow morning with four ballots
a day. At least 77 votes - or two-
thirds of attending - are needed to
elect a pontiff during initial ballot-
ing. Under rules updated in 1996 by
the late pontiff, it could shrink to a
simple majority at some point in the
Another new element comes with
this conclave: Bells will ring after a
new pope is chosen in an effort to
avoid confusion over the color of
smoke wafting from the chapel's
chimney. The smoke is black if bal-
loting fails to produce a pontiff and
white if a choice is made.
The next pope's name will be
announced from the central balcony
of the basilica a short time later.
Antonia R. G. Alvarez
Erin Anne Brackney
Adam M. Brunner
Shelly Fos ton
Shayna Hirsh field
Jason S. Myers
Ricardo A. Ramos
Amber C. Rho
Melissa S. Schmitt
Nicole M. Terwilliger
Ingrid S. Torres
Aila Uusitalo Weber
Tamara L. Whyte
- Compiled from Daily wire reports
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