Conclave nears, Sistine Chapel closed to visitors

Associated Press
FILE -- In this file photo taken on April 18, 2005 and released by the Vatican paper L'Osservatore Romano, Master of Liturgical Celebrations Archbishop Piero Marini closes the door of the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican, after proclaiming the "extra omnes", which is the Latin order for all those not taking part in the conclave to leave the chapel. Ritual words, uttered in Latin, open and close the secret selection process of the new pope. It starts with "Extra omnes" _ or "Everyone out" _ expelling everyone but voting cardinals from the Sistine Chapel where conclave balloting takes place. It ends with "Accepto" _ "I accept" _ the solemn word the victorious cardinal utters to confirm the judgment of peers who have given him the two-thirds majority needed to elect a pope.  (AP Photo/Osservatore Romano, ho)
.

View gallery

FILE -- In this file photo taken on April 18, 2005 and released by the Vatican paper L'Osservatore Romano, …

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The clearest sign yet that a papal election is nearing has arrived, with the Sistine Chapel announcing it is closing to visitors.

As of 1 p.m. Tuesday, Michelangelo's frescoed masterpiece will be sealed to tourists as Vatican workers put it into shape for the conclave: In 2005, the last time the College of Cardinals elected a pope, those preparations included installing a false floor to hide anti-bugging devices and attaching the stove, where the ballots are burned, to the Sistine Chapel's chimney.

Tuesday also brought a second day of pre-conclave meetings with cardinals to organize the election process and get to know one another. With a handful of cardinals still travelling to Rome, no date has yet been set for the start of the conclave.

View Comments (5)