As cardinals await conclave date, they go silent

CREATED Mar 6, 2013

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ROME - Vatican officials are waiting for the arrival of one more cardinal before setting a date for the conclave.

Meanwhile, the cardinals are going silent. They will not be speaking to the media until after they pick a new pope.

Wednesday, the American cardinals canceled their daily briefing and they announced they will not be doing any more interviews. This decision comes following the meeting of all the world's cardinals where the issue of media contact was discussed.

The spokesman for the U.S. cardinals says the decision not to talk to the press is a precaution against leaks.

The Vatican spokesperson says, as the cardinals move towards the conclave, there is a tradition of silence.

Wednesday morning, 18 cardinals spoke and they talked of everything from how the Vatican is run to the characteristics needed in the next pope.

"We should look at this as a time of discernment, and preparation which helps the voting process inside the chapel," said Rev. Thomas Rosica, a Vatican spokesman.

At the Sistine Chapel they're also preparing for the conclave. A protective covering has been put over the mosaic floor and a false floor is being built so the cardinals don't have to climb any steps.

They still have not set a date for the conclave. The last of the 115 cardinal electors, the cardinal from Vietnam, is expected to arrive Thursday night.

Milwaukee's Archbishop Jerome Listecki will be on "Wisconsin Tonight" Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. He'll talk about the conclave, and this historic time for the Catholic Church.