Updated 03/12/2013 12:41 PM
Cardinals take oath of secrecy as conclave begins
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VATICAN CITY -- Cardinals have entered their conclave to elect the next pope.
They gathered for mass this morning at St. Peter's Basilica.
The dean of the College of Cardinals, Angelo Sodano, delivered the homily and called for unity within the church.
The 115 cardinals who will elect a new pope filed into the Sistine Chapel earlier today after taking an oath of secrecy.
They will be locked inside for the duration of the day's vote.
If no new pope is elected, they will gather again tomorrow for two votes in the morning and two in the afternoon.
That process will continue each day until a candidate gets 77 votes, a two-thirds majority.
Some tourists said they feel lucky to be witnessing history in person.
"It's unfortunate that we can't go inside St. Peter's, but we were just talking about that earlier. It's nice to be here when this is happening. It's a once in a lifetime event," said one Vatican City visitor.
"It's a lot different if we would have come on a regular day," said another Vatican City visitor.
The ballots will be burned after the Cardinals vote.
Black smoke will be sent out of the chapel's chimney if no pope has been chosen.
White smoke will come out after a pope has been elected.
If no pope is chosen by Friday, the Cardinals will take Saturday off before voting again.