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Cardinals began arriving for the fourth day of pre-conclave meetings at the Vatican on Thursday (March 7) as they deliberate over who amongst them will become the next pope.
All of the 115 cardinal-electors are expected to be present for the first time, spurring rumours that the date for the start of the conclave may soon be announced.
The general congregations, closed-door meetings in the interregnum between a papacy and the conclave to choose the next one, will resume being held in the morning and afternoon in an effort to discuss as much as possible in a short time.
The list of challenges facing the crisis-hit Church could take weeks to debate. But the Vatican seems keen to have only a week of talks; so the cardinal electors -- those under 80 -- can enter the Sistine Chapel for the conclave next week.
High on the agenda will be Church governance after last year's Vatileaks scandal exposed corruption and rivalries