VATICAN CITY (AP) - In a historic gathering steeped in intrigue, cardinals from six continents assembled Monday for their first conclave of the new millennium to elect a pope who will inherit John Paul II's mantle and guide the world's 1.1 billion Roman Catholics into a new era.Also note the 'dig' about the Casa S.Marta:
Representing 52 countries, the 115 crimson-robed "princes" of a church stung by priest sex-abuse scandals and an exodus of the faithful celebrated a midmorning Mass at St. Peter's Basilica before sequestering themselves in the Sistine Chapel late Monday afternoon.
On Sunday, the cardinals moved into the super-secure Domus Sanctae Marthae, the $20 million hotel that John Paul had constructed inside Vatican City so the cardinals could rest in comfort in private rooms between voting sessions. Swiss Guards, their brightly colored uniforms covered by dark rain gear, saluted the prelates as they were whisked to the residence in limousines.I'm sure it did cost $20 million, but that's probably not unreasonable for a building large enough to accomodate about 120 men. The article also neglects to mention that the 'hotel' is normally used as a residence for priests working in the Vatican. (Incidentally, they have been scattered to various locations about the city so that the Cardinals might be accomodated.)