The Catholic cardinals gathered in Rome began Friday, the secret election, or conclave, to elect a new pope next Tuesday afternoon, the Vatican said the 115 cardinal-electors taking part in the conclave will enter the closed-door process after a morning Mass. Only cardinals younger than 80 are eligible to vote. Some cardinals took to the Internet to make comments before Friday afternoon's meeting that set the conclave date. Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana, viewed as one of about a dozen leading candidates to become pope, used Twitter to ask for prayers. Another leading candidate, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, told the people of his archdiocese in a blog post Friday that he misses New York and is sorry he won't be there on St. Patrick's Day. The building was closed to tourists Tuesday and will remain so for the foreseeable future, the Vatican said. Work is well under way to transform it for the conclave. The cardinals have sworn an oath of secrecy. Nonetheless, the Vatican is taking no chances. An electronic shield will be put up around the conclave to prevent the use of mobile phones and other devices that might allow communication with the outside world. The cardinals will no longer have access to the internet, until a final decision is made, and the new pope is chosen.
I believe that keeping social media and the internet out of the way is a good practice. There’s no need to be influenced by outside society, because everyone has, and is entitled to their own opinion. There is no need for the cardinals to have internet access, or use their mobile phones for the duration of the conclave. Everything that they need will be given to them, and the only representation needed to the outside world is the occasional colored smoke from the chimney of the Vatican.