Grimsby Catholic priest: "It'll take a miracle for new Pope to be elected tonight"
CATHOLICS in North East Lincolnshire nervously await the papal election – which could deliver the result by 8pm tonight.
As the conclave gets underway in Sistine Chapel following the shock resignation of Benedict XVI last month, local Catholics hope the new Pope will 'sort out' the Vatican Government and make stronger links with other leading religions, like Islam.
According to national newspapers there is currently no front-runner for the man tasked with fixing the problems of the Catholic Church, which has 1.2billion members world wide - but these are falling.
Father James Earley of St Pius Church X, in Chelmsford Avenue said: "This is an opportunity for the Catholic Church to look to the future. It is a tough job for anyone and even tougher at this particular time with the economic environment and the fall away numbers of the church.
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"He (the new Pope) must have charisma, theology, evangelion and management skills."
The vote started today with a mass in St Peter's Basilica at 10am local time.
Cardinals eligible to vote will enter the Sistine Chapel at 4.30pm where they will remain until one candidate recieves at least 77 votes required for vitory.
But Father Earley thinks it unlikely the new Pope will be elected tonight.
He added: "Unless some sort of miracle takes place it is unlikely he will be elected after the first session. They won't come out with a clear winner tonight, it will be more like tomorrow afternoon."