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Preparations for electing the next Catholic pope began in earnest on Monday (March 4) as the College of Cardinals opened daily talks to discuss who may become the new pontiff.
The cardinals arrived at the Vatican in the early morning to take part in closed-door meetings.
They were also set to hold sessions later in the day in an effort to discuss as much as possible in a short time.
Vatican experts say the idea is to have the new pope elected during next week and officially installed several days later so he can preside over the Holy Week ceremonies starting with Palm Sunday on March 24 and culminating in Easter the following Sunday.