NEW ORLEANS - As the Conclave began inside the Sistine Chapel, the archbishop of New Orleans joined other Catholics in the city and around the world in monitoring the process to select a new pope.
Archbishop Gregory Aymond asked the half million Catholics in New Orleans to pray for the Holy Spirit to guide the cardinals.
Aymond thinks it could be Thursday before the balloting leads to the election of a new leader for the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.
The archbishop noted it will take a truly capable leader and man of faith to take charge of a church facing major internal and external crises.
But, he said the cardinals began the Conclave Tuesday morning with no clear consensus on who should become the 266th pope.
"A lot of times people have the misconception that the cardinals know one another very well, and that they get together fairly often. They don't. They don't really get together that often, and they are 115 people from throughout the whole world. So it's kind of a challenging time in a good sense for them. But we believe wholeheartedly that the Holy Spirit guides them and that the person chosen will be the person that God wants to lead this church at this time," Aymond said.
Only one vote will be cast on Tuesday. On Wednesday and Thursday there will be four votes each day, two in the morning and two in the afternoon, so that by Thursday evening there will be a total of eight votes. (Pope Benedict XVI was selected in four votes. Pope John Paul II was selected in eight votes.)
The day the new pope is elected, a mass will be celebrated at St. Louis Cathedral at 5:30 p.m.
Eyewitness News will have continuing coverage on the election of the pope. We'll have the latest from the Vatican on our evening newscasts, on WWLTV.com, on Facebook and on Twitter. Also, CBS News will break into programming with special reports on any significant developments from Vatican City.