The Pope is Dead

So, the Pope is dead. After what seemed a distasteful age of the media saying, 'no, not dead yet'. There will be certain rituals to follow.

The Pope was the first non-Italian pope in some 450 years, and 15 days from now the cardinals can sit to elect a new pope.

I have it in my head that it would be nice to see an African Cardinal elected, though I doubt this will happen. I do hope that the new Pope is not Italian again.

The rules for electing a new Pope vary slightly each time, each Pope makes modifications to the rules.

As I understand it (I'm not catholic, or religious in any way), the cardinals must sit between 15 and 19 days time. There is an upper age limit on the cardinals that have a vote, and a maximum of 120 can sit.

They sit behind closed doors and write the name of their nominee on a slip of paper. When each cardinal does this the votes are counted, should the number of votes differ from the number of cardinals the votes are immediately destroyed and the ballot is redone at once.

Four ballots are done a day until a Pope is elected with a two thirds majority. When the ballot is counted, the papers are burned and a chemical added to make the smoke black or white.

If the smoke is white, the new Pope is elected, and the Cardinals put aside their differences (on paper!)

After a certain time has elapsed, the Cardinals will be able to change to simple majority voting should they not be able to come to a 2/3rd decision.

Correction: Ballots are twice a day

Second Correction: Ballots are four times a day, but the papers are burned twice a day.