Cardinals set Tuesday as start date for conclave

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VATICAN CITY — Cardinals have set Tuesday as the start date for the conclave to elect the next pope, signaling that they were wrapping up a week of discussions about the problems of the church and who best among them might lead it.

The conclave date was set this afternoon during a vote by the College of Cardinals. Tuesday will begin with a Mass in the morning in St. Peter’s Basilica, followed by the first balloting in the afternoon.

There doesn’t appear to be a front-runner in this election, and the past week of deliberations has exposed sharp divisions among cardinals about some of the pressing problems facing the church, including of governance within the Holy See itself.

According to Vatican analysts and even some cardinals themselves, the list of papabili, or those considered to have the stuff to be pope, remains relatively unchanged from when Benedict XVI first announced he would resign Feb. 28.

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