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Princes of the Church gathering to elect new Holy Father

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VATICAN CITY -

Cardinals opened their first round of formal talks with a prayer.

Before discussions began everyone took an oath of secrecy in all matters dealing with the election of the next Pope.

These meeting are intended to give cardinals time to discuss the qualities they expect from the new Pope. The date to begin the voting process, known as the conclave, has not been set.

115 cardinals under the age of 80 get to vote, but 207 are present and able to comment during discussions. Experts say the jockeying for votes has already begun.

U.S. cardinals say the new Pope must be ready to face the sex abuse scandal and its victims.

And while it could be days before a new Pope is chosen, three sets of Papal robes are ready. The family owned tailor shop that has been dressing the Pope for two centuries will soon ship small, medium and large vestments to the Vatican, because there will be no time to make them once the new Pope is elected.

The Cardinals agreed to send a message to retired Pope Benedict. They say the text of the note is still being worked on.

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