The conclave begins Tuesday, and today Rome and Vatican City are alive.
The solemness of the weekend has evaporated and excitement has returned. Our live location with CBS News is on top of a convent just outside the Colonnade at St. Peter's Square. A few of the cardinals are staying here.
I rode the elevator with one this morning. It's a slow elevator. Conversation was good. Questions and comments brief. "Good morning, your Eminence," as I nodded. "Good morning."
"Are we close?" I asked. He responded: "We'll see. God knows what God is doing,"
"As do the Cardinals?" I slightly pushed.
"All will be done in good time," he said.
As we parted, I thanked him and he smiled and gave me a blessing.
It's an amazing time to be here. We could see the first smoke by 7 p.m. tomorrow. Black smoke for the first few ballots is expected. Who knows? Could be white early. We could be here awhile. As the Cardinal said, "God knows."
Much work awaits whoever is chosen. Much healing needs to take place, or even begin, for so many. Problems for this massive church are nowhere near being resolved, yet the church continues. The work continues. The prayers are ever present.
Tonight at 5 and 6 p.m. we'll talk about those problems with young Catholics and we'll talk with North Carolinians here, in Rome, at this exciting and historic time.