Conclave to elect new pope begins

Kia Farhang

 

Roman Catholic cardinals gathered in the Sistine Chapel to select their church's new leader Tuesday, news sources reported.
 
The 115 cardinals must select a new leader after Pope Benedict XVI's resignation at the end of February, the Associated Press reported.
 
To win election, a prospective pope must receive a two-thirds majority of votes, National Public Radio reported. The cardinals release black smoke out of a Vatican chimney every time they reach an inconclusive vote, switching to white smoke when a new pope is selected.
 
The election comes at a challenging time for the Roman Catholic Church, according to the New York Times. Recent scandals include allegations of sexual misconduct and bureaucratic inefficiency in the church. 
 
Pope Benedict XVI's resignation was the first time in six centuries that a pope has stepped down, the Los Angeles Times reported. He said he was too old and infirm to continue his papal duties.