In pictures: How a new pope is elected

12 March 2013 Last updated at 11:43

As the Roman Catholic Church prepares for a new pope, Newsbeat looks at how he is elected.
Roman Catholics queuing up in St. Peter's Square
Roman Catholics queuing up for mass inside St. Peter's Basilica on the first day of the conclave, which is the name of the process to elect a new Pope. Once the mass has finished, the cardinals will be locked inside the Sistine Chapel and the election will begin. It will last as long as it takes them to decide, that can mean days or even years.
Inside the Sistine Chapel where the cardinals will stay until they have decided on who will be the next Pope.
This is the Sistine Chapel where the 115 cardinals are locked inside. The new pope needs two-thirds of the vote. Once inside the cardinals are not allowed any contact with the outside world, no TV, no mobile phones and no twitter or facebook. They will also have to use portaloos.
Chimney over St Peter's Basilica
After each vote, the 115 ballots are counted then tied together with string and burnt. The smoke they produce comes out of this specially installed chimney which lets everyone outside the conclave know what the result is. A chemical is mixed with the smoke to make it black if no decision has been made and white if a new Pope has been elected.
The room next to the Sistine Chapel where the new Pope will dress
Once the new Pope has been elected, he will be taken into this room next to the Sistine Chapel. Before the conclave, the same outfit is hung up in three different sizes, small, medium and large. There are also red shoes waiting in his size. He will be dressed in here before he appears to the public on the balcony.
The Balcony in front of St. Peter's Basilica
Once the new Pope has dressed, he will make his way to this balcony at the front of St Peter's Basilica. This is where he will first appear publicly and will make his first speech as the new leader of the Roman Catholic Church. It has already been decorated with red velvet curtains and a red drape over the balcony in preparation.