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Thousands Fill St. Peter's Basilica As Start Of Conclave Nears

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Thousands filled St. Peter's Basilica as they await the start of Tuesday's papal conclave. Thousands filled St. Peter's Basilica as they await the start of Tuesday's papal conclave.

It was no ordinary Sunday in Vatican City, as thousands of people filled into St. Peter's Basilica to await the start of the papal conclave.

Beginning Tuesday, the 115 cardinals will go behind the closed doors of the Sistine Chapel and won't come out until they've elected a new pope.

The iconic chimney is now in place, where white smoke will inform the world that the cardinals have made their choice.

Black smoke indicates there is no candidate.

Though there is no clear front runner, 61 of the cardinal candidates are European, and before stepping down, Benedict XVI increased the number of Italian cardinals.

It could also be the first time a pope who is not European is elected.

There is also a chance the new pope could be an American. Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, is considered a contender.

Conclaves in recent history have been shorter and many believe a new pope will be elected within about two days.

However, a vote covered in secrecy and backed by centuries of tradition can be hard to predict.

FOX 29's Iain Page is in Rome to bring you coverage of the selection of the new pope. We'll take you behind the scenes and cover all the angles of selecting a new pope on FOX 29 News.

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