Your Guide to How the Pope Is Chosen

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  • Catholicism, Conclave
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  • Conclave, Catholicism
  • Peter Turkson
  • Catholicism
  • Conclave
  • Pope Benedict XVI
  • Catholicism
  • Vatican City

The Role of Secrecy and Gender Rules

The cardinals are forbidden to communicate with anyone from the outside world until the new pontiff is chosen. Should a cardinal break this rule, he will be excommunicated. A woman cannot serve as pope because the candidate must be an ordained priest, and under Catholic doctrine, women are barred from doing so.  (Photo: AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)