Electing a new pope draws on tradition and secrecy

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benedict XVI

Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano presents the papal fisherman ring to Pope Benedict XVI at the new pope's installation Mass. The fisherman's ring bears an image of Peter, his boat and his net, which figure in two Gospel accounts of miraculous catches of fish. Benedict said that while fish die when removed from the sea, ``in the mission of a fisher of men the reverse is true.'' Photo by Grzegorz Galazka.

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VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Benedict XVI will soon become the first pope to resign since 1415, short-circuiting many of the initial stages of electing a new pope. But the Vatican says the transition to a new papacy shouldn't be all that different from normal.