How does the Catholic Church even get a new pope?
Well, the current one either dies or resigns. Then the church holds a papal conclave and cardinals under the age of 80 vote on who they want to lead them. This time around, 115 cardinals will be voting.
The conclave begins with the cardinals in their red cassocks filing into the Vatican's Sistine Chapel, chanting the "Litany of Saints." Then they place their hand on the Gospel and promise to observe absolute secrecy during and after the conclave.
They also vow to vote independently — a good way to guard against external interference.
During the conclave, the cardinals live in a Vatican hotel and have no contact with the outside world: no phones, no newspapers, no tweeting.
On Day 1, only one round of balloting is held; after that, the cardinals cast two votes in the morning and two in the afternoon until one man has a two-thirds majority.
The outside world only knows what is going on by seeing smoke from the Sistine Chapel each time the ballots are burned. Black smoke means no decision, white smoke means a pope has been chosen.
Soon afterward, the thousands of faithful in St. Peter's Square will hear two Latin words announced from the balcony: "Habemus Papam! (We have a pope!)"
— Nicole Winfield — Twitter — http://twitter.com/nwinfield
"Pope Live" follows the events of the final day of Pope Benedict XVI's papacy as seen by journalists from The Associated Press around the world. It will be updated throughout the day with breaking news and other items of interest. Follow AP reporters on Twitter where available.