March 6 - Workmen begin preparing the Sistine Chapel ahead of the conclave, where cardinals will decide on the next pope. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Work was underway in the Sistine Chapel on Wednesday to prepare the Michelangelo-frescoed room for the conclave, although there is still no indication as to when it would begin. The Sistine Chapel was closed to the public on Tuesday, disappointing many tourists who had come to Rome to see it. Some of the work being undertaken in the Sistine Chapel includes placing a whole new raised floor inside to make it level, and to protect the antique floor. The elevated floor will extend up to the first step of the altar area to provide space for the tables and chairs where the 115 cardinal-electors will sit. The stove will be put into position used to burn the ballots after each vote, issuing either black smoke if a pope has not been decided, or white smoke if a choice has been agreed. Cardinals are holding meetings at the Vatican this week to get to know each other and decide when to start the conclave to choose a man to lead the 1.2 billion-member Catholic Church. The Vatican appears to be aiming to have a new pope elected next week and officially installed several days later so he can preside over the Holy Week ceremonies starting with Palm Sunday on March 24 and culminating in Easter the following Sunday.