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Cardinals Meet at Vatican to Plan Conclave

Roman Catholic cardinals met in Vatican City on Wednesday for a third day to plan the conclave needed to elect a successor to Pope Benedict.

The cardinals have been gathering this week at the Vatican to get to know each other and decide when to start the conclave, a group meeting bound by centuries-old tradition that will elect a new pope.

The Vatican generally does not disclose details about the meetings.

All of the 115 cardinals taking part in the vote are expected to be in Rome this week. They will gather in the Vatican's Sistine Chapel for the conclave.

Cardinals who are 80 or older do not vote.

The Vatican appears to be aiming to have a new pope in place by Easter on March 31.

Pope Benedict resigned last month after nearly eight years in office, becoming the first Roman Catholic Church leader to step down voluntarily in 600 years. He has pledged obedience to the next pope.
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