Preparations for the Conclave are underway in the Sistine Chapel

Sistine Chapel plays a key role in electing a new pope

VATICAN CITY (RNS) The tradition of voting for the new pontiff in the Sistine Chapel dates back to the Renaissance, but the location of the voting didn’t become a fixed feature of the conclaves until the 19th century — and only with John Paul II’s rules did the Sistine Chapel become the official theater of papal elections.

Cardinal Mahony knows the new Pope

The retired archbishop of Los Angeles even has a cappuccino with him almost every day. But he’s not giving any names — and no one else may know what will happen in this week’s conclave either.

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Religion & Ethics Newsweekly Video: New Archbishop of Canterbury on New Pope

The 77-million-member Anglican Communion is getting a new leader. Later this month, Justin Welby will take his seat as the new Archbishop of Canterbury, spiritual leader to Anglicans and Episcopalians around the world. Kim Lawton was in the UK this week and spoke with Welby about this important moment in these two Christian traditions. Video courtesy Religion & Ethics Newsweekly

Watch New Archbishop of Canterbury on New Pope on PBS. See more from Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly.

Bp. Paprocki: Call Ratzinger “Pope,” too…

Bishop Paprocki of Springfield, Ill., is known as a Catholic culture warrior to many but he is also a Rome-trained canon lawyer. In a memo that Pia de Solenni passes along, with his nihil obstat, Paprocki gives his opinion on a number of interesting issues stemming from Pope Benedict XVI’s unusual resignation — one of his views being that the talk of “abdication” is silly and the best and proper word is “resignation.” (Guess the bishop just doesn’t “get” religion, eh tmatt?)

(The bishop also shows himself to be in the dynamic equivalency rather than literal translation camp — at least on this issue.)

More intriguing, however, is his note that the word “pope” actually does not appear in canon law, and that Benedict never used it in his resignation address. The lesson Paprocki draws from this may be a matter of debate — that since it is a title, Benedict, even when he becomes Joseph Ratzinger on Feb. 28, should still be called “pope” and addressed as “Your Holiness.”