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Challenge #4 for Miranda Hart

Duration:
2 hours, 59 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 14 March 2013

Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor calls in live from Rome for a special Pause For Thought!

The Cardinals are gathering in the Italian capital to select the new Pope.

We're intrigued to hear directly from the Cardinal on this big day!

And we reveal the fourth in a series of challenges for Miranda Hart in aid of Comic Relief!

Music Played

27 items
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    The Feeling Fill My Little World

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  • Pause for Thought

    From Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor.

    I was once asked by a journalist why I liked Rome; I said jokingly I like the pasta, the people and the pope.

    For the past week, I've been with my fellow Cardinals discussing the challenges facing the Catholic Church and the qualities needed in a new pope.

    The 115 Cardinal electors are now in conclave. They are going in twice a day to the Sistine Chapel, to elect the new pope. Nearly eight years ago, I was in the Sistine Chapel to elect Pope Benedict. It was a very dramatic scene, because as you know, there hang the marvellous paintings of Michelangelo, from the creation of Adam and Eve to the end of the world and the last judgement.

    Cardinals go up one by one, and place their ballot paper into a golden urn, stating before God who they think should be the new pope. After voting has taken place, the cardinals who have scrutinised the votes call out the names who have been voted for, this goes on until one person has achieved two thirds majority.

    At the end, it is a very moving moment, when the voting has taken place and one has received the majority, the senior Cardinal approaches him and asks whether he is willing to accept the election as Supreme Pontiff. If he says yes, he is asked what name he will take. And from then on, as in good Pope Benedict, he is pope. There is no ceremony or ritual. He goes out and puts on a white cassock, returns and then sits in the middle of the chapel and every Cardinal pledges loyalty to the new pope.

    It may seem a strange way of choosing somebody who has such enormous authority and power over more than a billion people. This is how it has been for centuries. I know that Roman Catholics and fellow Christians will be praying for the pope who is soon to be elected. If you don't feel you can do that, maybe you can pause for thought and extend your good wishes for the new pope who is very significant, not just for the Roman Catholic Church, but for the whole world.

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