Sistine Chapel Closed to Public
Sections of the Vatican Museums were closed today at 1 p.m. Rome time, about 60 minutes ago, to begin to prepare the Sistine Chapel for the upcoming papal conclave.
In 2005, it took seven days to prepare the Chapel for the Conclave after it was closed.
By this measure, the Sistine Chapel should be ready for the Conclave on March 12.
However, the cardinals must vote to move the Conclave up from the March 15-20 time-frame foreseen by the regulations currently in effect. Such a vote would require the presence of all 115 voting cardinals.
In meetings this morning, there were 110 voting age cardinals present. Five voting age cardinals are still not present in Rome.
Here is a link to the Vatican Museum website containing this announcement of the closing today of the Sistine Chapel to visitors: http://mv.vatican.va/2_IT/pages/MV_Home.html
Here is the text in Italian:
Chiusura Cappella Sistina
Per le esigenze del prossimo Conclave, dalle ore 13.00 di martedì 5 marzo la Cappella Sistina sarà chiusa al pubblico fino a data da destinarsi. Nel medesimo periodo non saranno visitabili, lungo il percorso espositivo dei Musei Vaticani, l’Appartamento Borgia e la Collezione di Arte Religiosa Moderna.
Closing of the Sistine Chapel
For the needs of the upcoming Conclave, from the hour of 13 of Tuesday, March 5, the Sistine Chapel will be closed to the public until a date to be determined. During this same time, [these areas] will not be able to be visited, along the exposition route of the Vatican Museums: the Borgia Apartment and the Collection of Modern Religious Art.
(to be continued…)