The conclave and voting for a Pope is nothing like the election process in America. The politics of the entire process is completely different.
Really if we look at it from a belief standpoint it's a spiritual process. After all, it is the Church, the Holy Church, the grand church here in the physical plane. It represents to so many the heavenly church and our connection with God. The Pope is our physical connection here on earth.
The choosing a blend of modern and ancient ritual. Ritual is a huge part of the process of worship in the church. One of the words used to describe part of the process is conclave. In Latin conclave means “with a key” and due to a past issue of being unable to decide on a pope, the cardinals were “locked” in and told they had to choose. Talk about intimidation.
The original reason for the lock down was of course to show the seriousness of such an important decision but today the reason for the locking of the doors is more for privacy during prayer and meditation to ask guidance from God in choosing the highest position in the Church to represent the people. It helps with keeping outside interference and temptation from those might want to prejudice someone in their vote.
It is known through out the world that during the conclave when the cardinals vote there will either be black or white smoke. Black smoke will signal that a decision has not been made and white will of course announce that a new Pope has been selected. A chemical colorant is added to the smoke to make the dark or light color.
There are 115 cardinals in the papal conclave to chose the new pope. There are 60 cardinals from Europe, 11 from the United States, three from Canada, Latin America has 19, and Africa and Asia with combined total of 21. One other cardinal is from Oceania, Sydney Cardinal George Pell.
The choosing of a new name follows tradition from the Bible. The first leader of the church, St. Peter was also known as Simon, one of Christ's apostles.
There will be no training period, or honeymoon period as the news media calls it, for the new Pope. He will hit the ground running and must face great adversity in the struggles that the church now faces. But we hope that whomever the new Pope is that he is already fully aware of the crisis and chaos that Holy Father will inherit and that he holds strong faith in not only himself and the power and strength God has given to him, but that he holds faith in the people to help him on this journey.