The Archbishop of New York, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, and former archbishop of Philadelphia, Cardinal Justin Rigali, arrive at the Paul VI Hall for the opening session of the Cardinals' Congregations. Franco Origlia, Getty Images
WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- The conclave to pick the new pope will begin on Tuesday, March 12, according to the Vatican press office. The decision was made during a vote by the College of Cardinals on Friday.
The press office says Tuesday will start with a Mass at St. Peter's Basilica in the morning and first balloting will follow later in the afternoon.
According to the Associated Press, no conclave has lasted longer than five days in the last century.
Two Cardinals were formally exempted from the conclave on Friday, reports the Associated Press. Cardinal Julius Darmaatjadja, emeritus archbishop of Jakarta, is ill and Scottish Cardinal Keith O'Brien, resigned last week after admitting to inappropriate sexual misconduct, says the Associated Press. The exemptions bring the number of cardinal electors to 115. A two-thirds majority - or 77 votes - will be required for the next Pope.
Thursday, Allen Pizzey of CBS News reported that Cardinal Donald Wuerl of D.C. was mentioned as a leading American contender. "I think we have to stay in the real world, and the real world does not include me," Cardinal Wuerl told ABC News, when he was asked about his chances earlier this month.
Cardinal Wuerl headed to Rome at the end of February for the papal conclave to select the next Pope.
The conclave involves the cardinal electors forced into seclusion until a decision of three-fourths majority is made on the new Pope.