May 5, 2013 — A newly cleaned painting in the Vatican, which dates to 1494, may be the first European depiction of Native Americans. The painting had been largely ignored for more than 500 years.
Mar 12, 2013 — In the Sistine Chapel, cardinals have begun voting. It takes the votes of two-thirds (77 cardinals) to become pope. In between the votes, the cardinals will be "busy murmuring in each others' ears over coffee and pasta" as they form alliances, NPR's Sylvia Poggioli says.
Mar 11, 2013 — On Tuesday, 115 "cardinal electors" will be locked inside the Vatican to begin the secretive process of selecting the new leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics. It's one of the more spectacular and intriguing theatrical dramas on the planet.
Mar 6, 2013 — Alleging that the cardinals either ignored or covered up cases of sexual abuse involving priests, the groups are pushing to keep those cardinals from being part of the deliberations. The cardinals have either not commented or denied wrongdoing.
Mar 5, 2013 — Roman Catholic cardinals are in Rome and are discussing when to begin their formal deliberations on a successor to Pope Benedict XVI. On Monday, a German man pretending to be a bishop tried to get into one of their meetings. The Swiss Guards led him away.
Mar 4, 2013 — The College of Cardinals must first decide on a date for the start of the conclave at which the new pope will be elected. It's likely they'll decide to start sometime next week. Pope Benedict XVI officially stepped down last Thursday.
Mar 1, 2013 — The cardinals who will choose the next pope want to be sure there's "absolutely no scandal connected to him," says NPR's Cokie Roberts. So, they will be digging into the potential popes' backgrounds. During that vetting, some leaks may occur.
Feb 24, 2013 — Some 100,000 people packed St. Peter's Square to hear the pope's last blessing. They interrupted him several times with applause and cheers. Benedict has one more scheduled public event: a general audience in St. Peter's Square on Wednesday.
Feb 11, 2013 — Citing his age (85) and diminished strength, the pontiff plans to step down effective Feb. 28. It's likely that a conclave to elect a new pope will be held by mid-March. A pope hasn't stepped down this way since 1415.
Feb 9, 2013 — Pilgrims and tourists who visit the Vatican Saturday will have a special treat, as the Knights of Malta march in procession to the tomb of St. Peter. The last of the great chivalrous orders is celebrating the 900th anniversary of its official recognition by Pope Paschal II.