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An anonymous cardinal – which is how this type of pressure is usually applied – told the Italian press agency AGI that his “dream is that the Church will have a new Pope within this week,” and that “this is possible if the congregation set this Thursday, the 7th, as the date for the conclave, and the conclave elects the new Pope by Friday, the 8th.”
This is almost impossible, since the Sistine Chapel must still be prepared for the conclave and has not been closed to visitors yet.
In a message on its website, the Vatican Museums said it would still be possible to visit the complex but the renaissance Sistine Chapel, the Borgia Apartment and the modern religious art collection would be off-limits to tourists. The Sistine Chapel is renowned for Michelangelo's famous frescoed ceilings and his apocalyptic Last Judgment.
"There might be a need for a long delay" as the cardinals try to gauge how much they do or don't know enough about each other, Cardinal Wilfrid Napier told Catholic News Service March 1, the first day of the "sede vacante."
No church leader wants to be away from his diocese for too long, he said, and no one wants to miss Easter, March 31.