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The Calm Before The Conclave

Aired March 11, 2013 - 16:00   ET


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Live from Rome, we are just hours away from Vatican lockdown when behind me, here in Rome, a group of 115 cardinals will start voting on who should lead the worldwide Catholic Church. As the final meetings are held, on the show tonight a Vatican insider who says there will be a new pope by the end of the week.

We're live in Brazil and in Mexico on what millions of Catholics in those countries are hoping for.

And from Africa, a CNN exclusive survey across 11 nations on what an African pope might mean or the continent.

Well, anticipation running high tonight at the Vatican on the eve of a gathering that is crucial to the future of the Roman Catholic Church. In less than 19 hours, cardinals will begin filing into the Sistine Chapel. After the wooden doors swing shut, we won't see them again until a new pope is elected.

115 cardinals are taking part in what's known as the conclave. They held their final talks today on the challenges facing the church and who might be best suited to meet them.

Well, we're expecting the first round of voting to come tomorrow, although it actually doesn't necessarily have to. Any case, the Vatican is ready for the big unveiling. Workers installed red curtains today on the main balcony of St. Peter's Basilica. That is where the new pope will first greet the world.

Well, unlike previous conclaves, there's really no clear frontrunner this time around, but a Vatican spokesman, Father Thomas Rosica predicts that there will be a new pope by the end of the week. And Father Rosica joins us now live.

Can we hold you to that?


ANDERSON: Well, who is it going to be, then?

ROSICA: I don't know, that's the whole thing. This is really an open field this time. It's been an incredible week. The cardinals have met together in these congregation meetings. Unlike the conclave in 2005, which really was in the context of mourning, of sadness, of a funeral, of the heaviness of the loss of John Paul II, Pope Benedict in this courageous action has caused the church to do some serious reflection about the high moments and the low moments, the successes and the failures, and to really say who is it that can lead this community into the future.

ANDERSON: Do you think they know at this point?

ROSICA: They have some ideas, but see there's a dynamic that happens. Tomorrow morning, first of all, there is a mass for the election of the pope. He'll all be part of that. The world will see it. When the celebrants will be the college of cardinals with Cardinal Saldano. And the whole world prays with it.

Then, tomorrow afternoon the action really starts.

ANDERSON: Let me give our viewers a sense of what this -- the oldest enduring electoral system in the world is all about. The conclave is going high tech, though, to ensure absolute secrecy. Jamming devices were installed today in the Sistine Chapel to make sure no one violates the ban on cell phones and internet usage. John Mann walks us step by step now through the top secret process of choosing a pope.


JONATHAN MANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The gathering begins with a morning mass in St. Peter`s Basilica. In the afternoon, the 115 voting cardinals, those under 80 years old, enter the Sistine Chapel where each will take an oath of secrecy. The penalty: automatic excommunication.

After the oath, preparations are made for the election taken by secret ballot. Lots are drawn to select three cardinals who will help collect ballots, three more cardinals to count the votes, and three others to review the results.

Printed on the ballots, the words "Eligo in Summum Pontifecem," meaning I elect as Supreme Pontiff. Each elector writes the name of one candidate on the lower half of the ballot and folds it in half. Cardinals are not allowed to vote for themselves.

Then in order of seniority, the cardinals take their ballots to the altar. Each places a folded ballot onto a small desk and then the ballot is dropped into a chalice. Once all the votes are cast, the ballots are tallied, and the results are read aloud.

More than a two thirds majority is needed to declare a winner, in this case, 77 votes. If there is no winner, there is another vote. If there is still no winner, two more votes are scheduled for the afternoon. Voting continues up to four ballots each day until there is a winner.

The ballots are burned after each session in an incinerator inside the chapel. If there's no winner, they are burned with a chemical that gives off black smoke telling the crowd waiting in St. Peter`s Square that a new pope has not yet been selected. When there is a winner, white smoke, a sign from the cardinals that they have chosen a new pope to lead the church.

Jonathan Mann, CNN, Atlanta.


ANDERSON: Well, the voting cardinals must feel the weight, Father Rosica, of their decision. Give us a sense of the questions and issues that have been raised during these general congregations, these general discussions that they've had leading up to this period?

ROSICA: There have been very thorough discussions. Now I can't divulge all the details, but I will tell you the great themes that they talked about. For example, the church's relationship to the world. How does the church relate in the world? What about all of those people who are on the fringes of the church? There was a reflection on the church's relationship to Muslims, to Jews, interreligious dialogue, ecumenism, the church and the poor. There was the relationship of the church -- the Vatican to the individual...

ANDERSON: You're talking about relevancy, here, aren't you, because that surely is the problem with the Catholic church, certainly those who run the Catholic church here behind me. Is it relevant today? And isn't there a man amongst those 115 cardinals who can make it more relevant?

ROSICA: Not a question of relevancy, because if it was irrelevant, what on earth would CNN and CBS and their whole crews from all of the world...

ANDERSON: It's a big story.

ROSICA: This is a big story.

And you know what the church offers, the church offers a story with a sense of history, mystery, all of the stuff that goes with being human.

ANDERSON: Scandal, rumor and conjecture as well. Did they talk about the sex scandals?

ROSICA: It's all part of it. They've talked about everything. They've talked about all those issues. I think that a lot of the cardinals who came for the first time together heard about these issues. There were no answers, but the questions were raised so that when they're electing someone, this person knows what's on the agenda. He knows -- the person has to prioritize.

But above all, it was not just a problem solving situation, the church remembered this past week what we're ultimately about.

You know what the church is about, it's about proclaiming Jesus Christ, who is far above all of these issues; but Jesus Christ, who tells us unless you're honest to face these issues when you're not being faithful to who you are.

ANDERSON: Father Rosica, you say by the end of the week, what do you mean, Friday?

ROSICA: Perhaps.

ANDERSON: No smoke -- what, will we see smoke tomorrow?

ROSICA: We're going to see smoke tomorrow and the next couple days the white smoke will come. You know why? Because the cardinals have been very well prepared.

They spent all of this time reflecting, what we call discerning, asking some big questions.

When they go into the Sistine Chapel, that's not the time to study documents, that the time to get to work and vote.

ANDERSON: You're not going to tell us who you think is going to win this election?

ROSICA: It's in my heart.

ANDERSON: Excellent. Good stuff. I'm not going to get it out of him tonight.

Good, thank you.

ROSICA: Thank you very much.

ANDERSON: Pleasure to have you.

You're watching Connect the World special live from Rome. Now, just hours away from the start of the secret vote to elect the next pope. Coming up, later in the show, a look at the frontrunners and what gives them the edge over the rest.

In other news, after this short break, the gang rape of a female student in New Delhi caused global outrage. But now one of the suspects has been found dead and his family are raising questions about it.

And the queen cancels her appearance at an important commonwealth service as she continues recovering from illness.

All that and much more when Connect the World continues live from Rome.


ANDERSON: Right, you're watching CNN. This is a special edition of Connect the World from Rome with me Becky Anderson. Welcome back.

Now in India, the man accused of leading a gang that brutally raped a female student in December has been found dead in his cell. Police say Ram Singh hanged himself, but his parents and lawyer say he was murdered.

Sumnima Udas is in New Delhi with the latest for you.


SUMNIMA UDAS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It was a crime that set off protests across the country. And now one of the main suspects in the deadly gang rape of a young New Delhi student has allegedly committed suicide by using his own clothes to hang himself in a New Delhi prison.

Now the home minister of this country has said preliminary reports suggest this was, in fact, a case of suicide. And he admitted that this was a serious problem.

SUSHIL KUMAR SHINDE, INDIAN HOME MINISTER: Certainly it's a grave incident. It's not a small incident. It's a major lapse, but the inquiry is being done. And after the inquiry, everything will be done.

UDAS: Now the suspect's lawyer has claimed foul play. He said his client actually had no need to commit suicide. He was actually very happy with the way the case was proceeding. And his parents have also said that they don't believe this theory of suicide and they think he was actually murdered.

Now a lot of questions are being raised as to how exactly this could have happened in what is otherwise known as a very high security prison. This is Tihar Jail. It's one of the largest prison complexes in the world. There are about 12,000 inmates there. And authorities say there were actually two other inmates inside that prison cell with Ram Singh. And there was always a police officer, a security officer outside that ward at all times.

Now what makes this development significant is that Ram Singh was the main suspect. It was through his statements that the police were able to identify and eventually capture the other five suspects. Now the prosecution has said in the past that they have enough evidence against all five of the accused, but analysts here say with the main suspect now dead, this will certainly have some sort of impact on how the trial proceeds.

Sumnima Udas, CNN, New Delhi.


ANDERSON: Well, earlier my colleague Max Foster spoke to Kiran Bedi, a retired police officer and former inspector general of (inaudible). She told him she's almost certain it was a suicide brought on by guilt. And she rules out the possibility of foul play. Have a listen to this.


KIRAN BEDI, RETIRED POLICE OFFICER: I think there's just too much of transparency in the system. It just (inaudible) another prisoner murdering another prisoner is almost nil.

MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There's also some other comments coming out of this. Mr. Singh's father saying that there's no way he would have committed suicide. He said he wasn't suffering from massive levels of stress. He even says that Mr. Singh has been raped in this prison. If he's being raped, surely he could be murdered as well.

BEDI: I know, but I would -- I really wouldn't add much of credibility to this.

FOSTER: Why not?

BEDI: Personally I wouldn't. Not that I'm biased, but I think it's too late in the day to be saying it.

FOSTER: And perhaps he should have said it at the time.

BEDI: ...then the magistrate should call the lawyer who is defending him should have -- and the lawyer is saying that he was never distressed, that Ram Singh was never complaining of any psychological issues, he never did. That's what the lawyer has been saying. The lawyer has been saying that he was never under any need for any psychiatric (ph). This is exactly what the prison is saying.

Why should we had him under security watch, there was no complaint on him.

FOSTER: It is, no matter how he died, a major lapse in something here. There's a problem here, isn't there, because a major suspect, the suspect, the most high profile suspect right now in India has died. Whether or not it be murder or suicide, that shouldn't have been allowed to happen. He should have had his day in court, shouldn't he?

BEDI: Obviously, that's exactly what the probe will tell, how -- which are the areas for further improvement. Whatever is the lapse, or whatever is the deficiency, however one wishes to say, I think this probe will help prison authorities to close those gaps.


ANDERSON: The view there from Kiran Bedi, retired police officer and former inspector general of the police where suspect -- or the prison, sorry, where suspect Ram Singh died.

In other news this hour, two U.S. soldiers were among those shot and killed when a gunmen dressed in Afghan military uniform opened fire at a military base on Monday. Now two Afghan army personnel were also killed and at least 10 Americans were said to be wounded. The attacker was shot dead at the scene. More than 60 NATO troops were killed by Afghan army personnel or insurgents posing as them last year.

Well, Britain's Queen Elizabeth has pulled out of an annual service celebrating the commonwealth at Westminster Abbey. It comes as she continues to recover from her recent illness.

My colleague and royal correspondent Max Foster is in London to tell us more.

Max, what do you know at this point?

FOSTER: Well, she did pull out last minute from this big service, a major event today in London. And I'm told that that was on hospital advice, doctor advice rather, not hospital advice. She's at the tail end of this gastroenteritis that she had last week and she may well not be able to attend more events later this week, but you see images here of her tonight.

This is one event she made sure she did go to. What she's doing here is signing a charter, it's a pledge by the 54 member states of the Commonwealth, a whole load of different promises, the first time the Commonwealth has committed to a single document that really defines it.

And within that charter, there's an interesting line, the oppose all these 54 members, to all forms of discrimination whether rooted in gender, race, color, creed, political belief or other grounds. And many people reading into that, other grounds meaning sexuality. So perhaps gay rights for the first time being enshrined in Commonwealth notes and also represented there by the Queen. And she followed up -- actually she spoke just before she signed, but this is what she said at about the same time.


QUEEN ELIZABETH II, QUEEN OF UNITED KINGDOM: I hope the carefully chosen words of the charter will reinvigorate efforts already begun to make the Commonwealth fit and agile for the years ahead so that it can apply its global wisdom in the hopes and needs of this and future generations.


FOSTER: So there does seem to be a sense that gay rights are part of this whole event, but they can't name that, Becky, because many of the member countries of the Commonwealth have laws against homosexuality, so a delicate matter.

But some gay rights campaigners saying this is a step in the right direction at least.

ANDERSON: All right. Max, thanks for that. Keeping an eye for you on all things British royal family.

This is Connect the World live from Rome this evening with me, Becky Anderson coming up. Countdown to conclave amid the splendor of the Renaissance, what happens inside the Sistine Chapel this week is much more than fear to the serious business of electing a pope up next.


ANDERSON: Peter's Basilica there in Vatican City. You're watching Connect the World live from Rome up and back. I'm Becky Anderson for you.

Tonight, the Sistine Chapel is ready, the next pope's clothes are laid out, now it is up to the cardinals on the eve of the start of conclave. Here's a reminder of what we know about them.

Well, the college of cardinals is a 209 members, but just 115 plan to vote. They're called the cardinal electors. The remaining 94 are deemed too old by the church or else are not attending.

Where do the electors come from? Well 60 are from Europe, 19 from Latin America, 14 from North America, including three from Canada, 11 from Africa, 10 from Asia, and 1 from Australia.

Now of course electing a pope is much more than a numbers game, it is serious business. And with so many different countries in the mix, you can count on plenty of different opinions.

My colleague Ben Wedeman takes a look for you now at what's driving the decision making amongst those cardinals.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: On the eve of Tuesday's conclave, the cardinals fanned out over Rome to conduct mass, meet the faithful and the press.

CARDINAL TIMOTHY DOLAN, ARCHBISHOP OF NEW YORK: I'm ready to go home. I ran out of socks.

WEDEMAN: Behind the humor, the handshakes and the hugs is serious business.

The 115 cardinals who will soon disappear into the conclave will be deciding on the future of the church perhaps for decades to come.

The faction within the Vatican is eager for continuity, hesitant to rock the bark of St. Peter. But with financial and sexual scandals plaguing the church, many of the cardinals are pushing for a shakeup, says Italian columnist Massismo Franco.

MASSIMO FRANCO, COLUMNIST: The others want a radical change in the chain of power in Rome. So they want Rome to be changed as the mentality as the people who run the business.

WEDEMAN: The U.S. cardinals are seen as the principle boat rockers.

FRANCO: There is a strong role of the Americans, overall of the Northern Americans, which give the impression of a fresh church, or a very strong church.

WEDEMAN: And for those pushing for reform, there's strong desire to fundamentally change the way the church is managed, a bit of democracy might help since church historian professor John O'Malley.

PROFESSOR JOHN O'MALLEY, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: One thing that's needed in the church today is less of a top, down program that Rome -- the Vatican tells us what to do and we do it without really any kind of participation of the other bishops and the laity and the priests and so forth.

WEDEMAN: But the Catholic church is an institution steeped in centuries of tradition, intrigue and sometimes skullduggery. The church of Rome wasn't built in a day and it won't be rearranged with just one pope.

JOHN O'MALLEY: If we go through stage of simply digging in the heels and nothing is going to change, we're just going to keep on doing things the way we've been doing them, that's going to shock a lot of people and disappoint a lot of people.

WEDEMAN: And that at a time when the church can ill afford it.

In the end, the mortals who run the church must look to a higher power for guidance.

CARDINAL SEAN O'MALLEY, ARCHBISHOP OF BOSTON: Let us pray that the holy spirit illumine the church to choose a new pope who will confirm us in our faith and make more visible the law of the good shepherd.

WEDEMAN: Otherwise, the flock may stray.

Ben Wedeman, CNN, Rome.


ANDERSON: Well, as Ben's report just highlighted, the papal election could come down to fear of rocking the boat versus the desire for reform. CNN's analyst John Allen is with me now. Ben pointing out this is an old institution and things don't happen overnight, but is there a possibility here that we are looking at a reformer, a reformer as you and I might know, as the laity might believe?

JOHN ALLEN, CNN VATICAN ANALYST: Well, I mean, first of all, Becky, you were absolutely right, things tend to move at a glacial pace here. The normal working motto in the Vatican has talked to me on Tuesday. And I'll get back to you in 300 years, you know, so a little bit a patience is always the watch word.

Look, I think there is a sort of strong anti-establishment mood in some ways among many of the 115 cardinals who were going to be voting in this election, but what they're upset with is not doctrine, so they're not clamoring for things like blessing gay marriage or changing church teaching on abortion. By those standards of what people often mean by reform, all of these guys would profile as conservatives. They were all named by John Paul II or Benedict XVI.

What they're upset with, Becky, is business management. They simply think that the Vatican is far too slow, far too insular, and often steps on its own story. So the kind of reform they're looking for would be greater transparency, great efficiency, modernization.

ANDERSON: If that were the case, it seems to me that the leading frontrunner would be Angelo Scola who is an Italian, Ironically, but not from the curia, not from the sort of inside the Vatican. Am I right in saying that?

ALLEN: You're absolutely right in saying that. And I think most people would say we don't have a frontrunner in this race, but the closest thing we've got it Cardinal Angelo Scola of Milan for precisely the reason you mentioned. The working assumption is that he's Italian. And the Italians have a special gene for running the church, but at the same time he's never worked in the Vatican not one day. And so he's not associated with any particular thing guys don't like.

So it's a kind of insider-outsider blend that many cardinals find attractive.

ANDERSON: Father Rosica very briefly told me he thinks we're going to get a result by the end of the week. What are you betting on?

ALLEN: Well, I've been telling everybody, I think this is twice as complicated as last time, so I'm doubling everything. The last time was a day-and-a-half. I'll take three. Last time was four ballots. I'll take eight. Honest answer, god only knows.

ANDERSON: Good on you.

Live from Rome just hours away from the secret vote that will elect the next pope. You are watching Connect the World special. The latest world news headlines as you would expect here on CNN are just ahead.

Plus, could the new pope come from Africa? Well, thousands of Africans have shared their thoughts with a survey commissioned by us here at CNN. Those exclusive results are coming up.

Plus, we're going to get the view from Brazil and Mexico on some of the other international contenders for pope. All that here on CNN. Due stay with us. Take a very short break. Back after this.


ANDERSON: This is CONNECT THE WORLD live from Rome. The top stories this hour. Cardinals at the Vatican held final talks today ahead of the conclave, which will of course choose a new pope. They debated the challenges facing the Catholic Church and who might be best-suited to meet them. The cardinals go into strict lockdown once the conclave begins on Tuesday.

The man accused of leading a gang that brutally raped a female student in India in December has been found dead in his cell. Police say Ram Singh hanged himself. His parents and lawyers say he was murdered. New Delhi's chief ministers ordered an inquiry into the death.

A gunman wearing an Afghan military uniform opened fire on a group of NATO and Afghan soldiers on Monday, killing two US and two Afghan service members. At least 10 US troops were wounded in the attack, which took place in Wardak province near Kabul.

North Korea says it has abandoned the armistice that ended the Korean War. The move is a reaction to new sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council due to Pyongyang's recent nuclear tests. Also today, the US imposed new sanctions on North Korea's foreign trade bank.

A new pope, or nearly. We're live in Rome. You're watching a special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD. We're just hours away, at least, from the start of the papal conclave. Cardinals will begin Tuesday with a special mass followed by a procession into the Sistine Chapel.

Now, once the top-secret process begins, all eyes will be on a simple chimney. Black smoke will signify an inconclusive vote, while white smoke will let the world know a new pope has been chosen.

If it's raining tomorrow like it is -- what just started here, that smoke might be dampened somewhat. Joining me now are two men who know the church well. I'm sure you can actually hear this rain coming down.

John Allen, senior correspondent for the "National Catholic Reporter," of course, and Father Edward Beck, a Roman Catholic priest and well-known media commentator as well as the author of three books. Both men regular CNN contributors. You may have to speak up tonight with this hail that's just started.

Both of you have covered the church extensively. John, we've spoken just before the break about when we think this might finish and who we think the sort of leading contender might be. Your sense, Father Beck, of where things stand as the cardinals go into this election process?

EDWARD BECK, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: What I'm amazed at is that it seems that there is no frontrunner. Even though John spoke about Cardinal Scola, there seems no clear frontrunner as in the past. And it seems that there is a division even among the cardinals. The Curia cardinals seem to be pushing in one direction, the others seem to be pushing in another direction.

And so, what's amazing to me is that no one has emerged to say ah, that's going to be the person, when we see that smoke, that's going to be the one.

ANDERSON: How do these blocs, these geographic blocs break down, and where are we seeing the schisms, if any at all, at this point?

JOHN ALLEN, CNN VATICAN ANALYST: Well, actually, I don't know that the main division is defined geographically. Honestly, I will tell you, Becky, that if there were a single strong Latin American candidate, I think that guy would already have this race sewn up.

I think the abstract, a lot of cardinals like the idea of picking the next pope from outside the West. Two thirds of the 1.2 billion Catholics in the world today live there. That share will be three quarters by mid- century. It's where the church is dynamic and alive. The problem is, there isn't just one plausible Latin American, there are several.

BECK: Of course, the one that we hear a lot about is Cardinal Scherer from Brazil. Now, what's interesting, I think, about him, German extraction, ancestry, so there's some connection there. But you have the most populist Catholic country, 123 million Catholics, and there have been -- Pentecostalism has made inroads against Catholicism in Brazil.

So, if this is the new evangelizer we are looking for, why hasn't he been able to stem the tide in his own Brazil? And I think that's -- people are going to look at that and say great man, but if we really need somebody to speak to the church today who can bring it back, is this the guy?

ANDERSON: We were talking last time, there's of course a lot of speculation right now about whether the next pope could come from outside of Europe, of course, and what that could mean for the church as a whole.

CNN partnered with mobile technology company to survey some 20,000 people in 11 African countries. Now, here's what we learned from that survey. One of the questions we asked was is the world ready for an African pope. More than 61 percent said yes, 39 percent said no. Those numbers were about the same when we asked if the Vatican was ready, too.

On the question would the Catholic Church be more or less conservative with an African pope, more than three quarters believed that the church would be at least as conservative if not more so. One final point, we asked, do you believe an African pope would increase support for Catholicism in Africa? 86 percent said yes it would, only 14 percent said no. John, your thoughts on that survey.

ALLEN: Well, first of all, I'm not exactly sure how you could increase support for Catholicism in Africa. Catholicism in Africa in the 20th century grew from 1.9 to 139 million. That's a 7,000 percent growth rate. Maybe an African pope gets you from 7,000 to 8,000, but you're already doing OK.

Look, fundamentally, I think the question is, is the Catholic Church ready for an African pope? Sure. But the problem is, when those cardinals go into the Sistine Chapel, they're not voting for a passport, they're voting for a man. So, they're not just looking for an African, they're looking for somebody who puts together the particular qualities they believe the church needs.

ANDERSON: Peter Turkson is somebody who's been talked about. The Ghanian cardinal who is, of course, ready to get involved in conclave. Is he an option? Is he a possibility at this point?

BECK: Well, if you believe the posters that were around Rome with his picture on it to vote for him, certainly. But many say that that hurt him. He gave a few interviews where he even hypothesized about what it might be like to be pope, and people say you just don't talk about it that way.

ANDERSON: He's also a Vatican insider, isn't he? Or is he considered -- he's considered that way, right?

ALLEN: Well, he has a Vatican job, but I don't think he profiles as an insider. I think people would say he's in the Roman Curia, but not of the Roman Curia.

The big problem, I think, frankly, is that he's had a couple of high- profile stumbles recently where he's kind of put his foot in his mouth. I think some people would say maybe he needs a bit more seasoning before he's ready for the big stage.

BECK: Also, for somebody who's worked with the Muslim population so much in Africa, I think it was last year at the bishops' meeting, he showed a video of Muslim growth, and it was way off base. Everybody said the statistics were wrong, he had to apologize.

So, people remember and say, gee, you're working with Muslims all the time. You didn't even know what these statistics were? So, I think that hurt him a little, don't you think?

ALLEN: That was one of the stumbles I was talking about, sure. In addition, he also recently gave an interview to our own Christiane Amanpour in which he appeared to link the pedophilia crisis in the church with homosexuality.

Look, he's a nice guy and certainly in the areas of his competence -- he runs the Vatican's Office on Justice and Peace -- is very good, but I think the question would be, has he had enough seasoning, playing when the big lights are on, to really be ready for this job?

ANDERSON: Let's talk about the theater over the next 24 hours, because all eyes, of course, will be trained on that chimney for the potential for white smoke at around 8:00 Rome time tomorrow, Tuesday. They don't, of course, have to vote in the first session tomorrow, do they?

ALLEN: They do not technically, but we certainly expect them to, because all the cardinals have been, precisely because of what Father Ed was saying, they don't know where they stand. They want that first ballot, because that'll be the first indication they've got of who actually has support and who doesn't.

BECK: And of course, the white smoke, we're all looking for it, but it wasn't always thus. The white smoke is a relatively new invention to determine who is the pope. It used to be the church bells ringing throughout.

But it will be interesting to see if the smoke is gray, white, black. Last time, there were so many people who couldn't even tell what color it was.

ANDERSON: It was slightly pink last time, I think --


ALLEN: What I remember is --

ANDERSON: -- I think there was the sun going down then.

ALLEN: We spent an agonizing five minutes on air trying to figure out what the heck had just happened.

ANDERSON: Until the bells rung, right?

ALLEN: Well, and remember, bells go off in this town all the time.

BECK: Right.

ALLEN: So, at the top of the hour, the bells were going off, and we were trying to figure out, well, is it yes, is it no? Finally, we had an answer, we had Habemus Papam.

ANDERSON: Unbelievable stuff. Well, stick with us live from Rome, of course. You are watching CONNECT THE WORLD. We'll be here as long as conclave goes on. Up next on the eve of the papal election, what does Latin America, with the world's largest number of Catholics, expect from a new pope? We are live from Brazil and Mexico up next.

As you imagine on a show called CONNECT THE WORLD, we are connecting the world with one of the world's most connected stories, the papal conclave here from Vatican City.


ANDERSON: Well, the Catholic Church is enjoying global growth, but that increase is not spread out evenly. Far from it. From 2005 to 2010, the number of Catholics in Africa jumped more than 20 percent. In Asia, the increase was more than 11 percent. Oceania, 9 percent.

Compare that to the more traditional centers of the Catholic population. South America grew more than 6 percent, around 4.5 percent in North America, and a mere 1.5 percent here in Europe.

Well, our reporters around the globe covering this story for you tonight. Let's get straight to Latin America, home to the world's largest Catholic population. Shasta Darlington joining us now from Sao Paulo in Brazil, and Nick Parker is in Mexico City.

Shasta, let's start with you. Is Brazil hoping the Brazilian Cardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer will be the next pope? Do they think that's realistic at this point?

SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's inevitable that they want it, Becky. We've talked to so many people who say they realize the world may not be ready for a Brazilian pope, but wouldn't it be great?

And Brazilians, they aren't solemn about much of anything, not even about religion, so you get this almost sort of football mentality when it comes to it. They're rooting for their cardinal. Of course they want him to win.

But at the same time, they say even if he doesn't, they know what they want in a pope. They want a pope who's pastoral, who's in touch with his flock. I had one parishioner tell me, "I want a 21st century pope, somebody who understands what we're going through. Isn't that what Jesus Christ did?"

And those are the kinds of messages that we're getting. They'd love Cardinal Odilo Scherer, but if not, somebody who understands them, Becky.

ANDERSON: The view out of Brazil. Out of Mexico, Nick Parker for you this evening. Nick?

NICK PARKER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Becky, yes, the conclave as it opens tomorrow is really forming a major national focus here in Mexico.

While the numbers of Catholics here in Mexico are slightly smaller than they are in Brazil, the overall percentage remains very, very high of population of people that say they are Catholic, it's about 85 percent right now. So, you can imagine, the conclave is really capturing the public imagination here.

I think you just have to go to the Basilica, which is a major shrine here in Mexico City, to really see that level of devotion that you have here in Mexico. People come from thousands and thousands of miles away to come and pay their respects to this shrine. So, you're really seeing a major, major amount of devotion and fascination in who the next pope may well be.

And on that subject, as the conclave opens tomorrow, I think you could say that the memory of Pope John Paul II is casting a very, very long shadow over the country here. Pope John Paul II visited Mexico some five times throughout his papacy, and he formed a very special relationship with the people of Mexico here, who turned out to hear his charisma and see him electrify crowds.

So, I think you could say a lot of people here are hoping the next pope, while maybe not Latin American, will hopefully have more charisma and lead the church at this sort of challenging time, Becky.

ANDERSON: A sort of unifying character is what they're looking for there in Mexico. Thank you, both Shasta and Nick. With me here in Rome is Father Joel Camaya from the Philippines. Father Joel is one of CNN's iReporters and was among the thousands in St. Peter's Square to hear Benedict XVI's farewell.

Father Joel, Asia's Catholic population is, of course, on the rise. In your opinion, is it time we saw an Asian pope?

JOEL NAVARRO CAMAYA, CATHOLIC PRIEST: Well, for the record, I know some priests, some colleagues have told me that it's not the first time that an Asian becomes pope if ever, since I think in the 4th century there was -- or 6th century, there was already one.

But I think with the growing population of Catholics in Asia, I think it could be. And it would spell some kind of the universality of the church, that we see anybody could come from -- or the pope could come from anyplace.

ANDERSON: There is a cardinal, of course, who is voting --


ANDERSON: -- in conclave, he's 55, he was only elected last year as cardinal, so it's pretty unlikely, one would assume, that he'd get the job. But the longer this conclave goes on, the more likely it is that an unlikely candidate would actually get the job of pope.

How important is it to you that the issues of scandal, sex abuse, of a lack of transparency so far as the finances of this place behind me, Vatican City, are concerned? How important is it that you see somebody elected as the leader, the spiritual and CEO leader of this place, the Vatican City behind me, how important is it that this is a reformer?

CAMAYA: Well, I think the first time that I talked with you here, it's always important for the pope, the one who is selected, to be able to deal with essentially the problems. And in fact, problems are not new in the church.

While the church has always moved on with problems, but at the same time, it was able to deal with these, maybe graciously or what we can say that we -- it's part of its charisma to deal with the changing times.

ANDERSON: Many people will say to me that they quite frankly think that the Catholic Church is irrelevant. It is on the rise around the world, so people are taking faith onboard. There are more Catholics rather than less, not necessarily here in Europe, but in places like Asia and Latin America.

But the pope is somebody who surely has to unify and make more relevant for the 21st century an institution which is the world's oldest international institution?

CAMAYA: Well, we can see it in this way, that far from Europe in these places, Africa, Asia, and even America, the church continues to grow. Maybe here, it's decreasing, but the number of Catholics are increasing in these other places.

And if we look at the history, times past, missionaries from Europe go to all these places to evangelize. Now, the favor is being returned, because missionaries from these places are increasing. They come here to Europe.

ANDERSON: Fascinating stuff. Certainly interesting times, as Confucius would say, here in Rome and in Vatican City as we move, of course, towards the beginning of this papal election. Up next on CONNECT THE WORLD life from Rome, how did the Catholic Church get to this crossroads? A closer look at the recent shakeup at the Vatican.


ANDERSON: You're watching CNN live from Rome as we look, there, at St. Peter's Basilica. What an extraordinary shot that is.

We're coming back to the story. First, I want to get you some sports news tonight, and some of the stars of the 2012 London Olympics are about to be honored in the next city to host the Olympic Games. So, names like Jessica Ennis, Usain Bolt, and Bradley Wiggins are among the nominees at tonight's Laureus Awards in Rio di Janeiro.

Patrick Snell joining me with a look at the awards and some of the nominees. I know everybody in Brazil keeping one eye on what's going on here at Vatican City, but what's going on in the old sports world out there?

PATRICK SNELL, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I myself am not personally in Rio, Becky, but I know a man who is. More on him in just a moment. But yes, this is like the sporting Oscars, if you like, the great and the good of the sporting world arriving in Rio di Janeiro ahead of the awards ceremony.

I've covered one of these back in the day in London. I can tell you, it's just everywhere you turn, you see a sporting celeb, or if not a sporting celeb, then someone who's just out and out famous.

But three awards to be dealt with. First up is the Sports Man of the Year for 2012, and you're quite right, we've got the Jamaican sprint king there, Usain Bolt himself. From the world of football, Leo Messi, the young Argentine who seems to set a new record for goal-scoring exploits week in, week out.

As far as the women are concerned, Serena Williams, Lindsey Vonn the US skier, and Jessica Ennis, of course, who's the reigning Olympic heptathlon champion, as well.

Teams? Well, the team category up there, the Spanish National Football Team, of course, you look no further than them. The European Ryder Cup Team who had that sensational victory on US soil last year at Chicago, and Miami Heat, the reigning NBA champs. So, quite a list there, Becky. Don't ask me who's going to win, it's going to be very close.

ANDERSON: All right. Well, one of our own is apparently involved in the event tonight. Who may that be?

SNELL: Yes, Pedro Pinto wasn't nominated this year, as far as those awards are concerned, but he's going to be playing a big hand, of course. Pedro is actually no stranger, of course, to the red carpet treatment. He is going to be there, actually interviewing the winners, speaking to the biggest names in sport.

He's going to be kind of working in tandem with Morgan Freeman, as well, who's actually hosting the ceremony. So Pedro, never far from a celeb or two, is playing a very key role, and of course he's been sending back to us all the best parts. He will be doing that over the next day or so as well, reaction and plenty of it, we're expecting from Rio, Becky.

ANDERSON: Yes, and I'm sure tweeting you with things that just winds you up about the fact that he's there and you're not.


SNELL: No, Twitpics --

ANDERSON: I guess that's the way of the world.


ANDERSON: Yes, exactly. All right, I know that you're back with "World Sport" at the bottom of the next hour. Thank you for that.

Returning to our top story, the Roman Catholic Church preparing to elect a new leader. From the resignation of Benedict XVI to the eve of the conclave, it's been an extraordinary fortnight for the Vatican. If you've forgotten, here's a reminder.


ANDERSON (voice-over): The last time we saw and heard from Pope Benedict XVI was on the balcony of Castel Gandolfo, where he now spends his days in tranquility.

POPE BENEDICT XVI: Grazie e buona notte.


ANDERSON: Not so quiet since the papal apartment was sealed on that historic day, Vatican City. Cardinals from around the world have been gathering in Rome in readiness for conclave, the secret ballot to elect a new leader of the Catholic Church.

But they have been met with a deepening sexual abuse scandal. Just days after Benedict stepped down, one of the eligible voters, Scottish cardinal Keith O'Brien, apologized for sexual misconduct after he was accused of having inappropriate contact with junior priests in the 1980s.

As the cardinals joined in daily prayer after Benedict's retirement and considered who among them can best lead the church, the days passed without a date for the vote to start.

THOMAS ROSICA, CATHOLIC PRIEST: There is no desire to rush things, but to take this time for discernment and reflection.

ANDERSON: It's been nearly a week after Benedict's resignation, a sign that a decision on conclave was nearing, with preparations beginning at the Sistine Chapel.

ANDERSON (on camera): As the days have passed, there's been mounting speculation as to who will emerge as the favorite, but analysts say there is a clear division between what the Europeans want versus the rest of the world, so settling on one person quickly may be difficult. If we don't see white smoke from that chimney within the first three days, the next pope is likely to be a compromise and a surprise.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Indeed, for some, the process has already gone on too long.

TIMOTHY DOLAN, ARCHBISHOP OF NEW YORK: I'm ready to go home. I ran out of socks!

ANDERSON: With the date of the conclave finally set for March the 12, it was time for one last Sunday mass and a final word from cardinals analysts see as leading contenders. And if recent history is anything to go by, we should see the new pope emerge on this balcony at the Vatican in no more than five days.


ANDERSON: All right. It is nearly 11:00 Rome time. Tomorrow morning, there is a mass, the cardinals will move from the residence where they will now be staying, or certainly from tomorrow, they'll go to the Sistine Chapel at around 4:30 local time and they will vote. There are prayers before we need to watch that chimney at around, we are told by the Vatican today, about 8:00 local time.

We are reminding our viewers, John, and some final thoughts from you, if you will, that this by law, they don't actually have to vote tomorrow.

ALLEN: Yes, that's right, they're not required to take a vote on the first night, but all indications are they plan to because in a wide open field, they're very anxious to know which candidates seem to have legs and which don't, and that first ballot will be the first indication.

ANDERSON: What can we expect, John? What are you expecting?

ALLEN: Well, as I was watching that marvelous collection of images, I was reminded that this all began with a massive surprise, which was Benedict's stunning announcement that he intended to renounce the papacy. And one has to wonder, Becky, is the logical arc of this story that it will end with another massive surprise?

That is, not somebody you would expect, not one of the so-called frontrunners or guys in pole position, but something more akin to that second conclave of 1978 when the cardinals shocked the world by electing the first non-Italian pope in 500 years, the obscure Cardinal of Krakow, who took the world by storm as John Paul II.

One has to wonder, has the stage been set, almost in terms of its poetic logic, for another massive surprise at the end of all this?

ANDERSON: We will know, I think, by Friday. That's my bet anyway. You're saying possibly Wednesday.

ALLEN: I was going Thursday --



ALLEN: Let's be clear.

ANDERSON: It's getting later the later we get tonight.


ANDERSON: John, you're with us all week, so thank you very much, indeed, for that for the time being. I'm Becky Anderson, that was CONNECT THE WORLD, live from Rome this evening. Do stay with us as this conclave continues, or begins and then continues. Thank you for watching, though, for the time being, this Monday evening. Good evening.