Man of the people: Cardinal Bergoglio drinks mate, a traditional beverage, in Buenos Aires earlier this  month. Photograph: DyN/AP Photo

It was Benedict who did it. There has never been an interregnum like the one just experienced by the Catholic Church, a period that led to the(...)

The sun sets behind St Peter's Basilica in St Peter's Square in the Vatican this evening. Cardinals are set to enter the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI tomorrow. Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.

The talking is over, it is now time to vote. The Cardinals this morning held their tenth and last “Congregazione Generale” prior to going into (...)

Black smoke billows out from a chimney on the roof of the Sistine Chapel indicating that the College of Cardinals have failed to elect a new Pope. Photograph: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images.

Thick black smoke billowed into the night sky from the Sistine Chapel's chimney tonight, signalling an inconclusive first vote in the conclave (...)

Sri Lanka's Cardinal Albert Malcolm Ranjith, Archbishop of Colombo, arrives to lead Mass at the San Lorenzo In Lucino church in Rome today. With the vast majority of Catholics now living outside Europe, there is growing pressure for a pontiff from another part of the world. Photograph: Chris Helgren/Reuters

Roman Catholic cardinals prayed today for spiritual guidance ahead of a closed-door conclave to choose a new pope to lead the church at one of (...)