Religion: The Succession

As he stood over the body of Pope Pius XII, Eugene Cardinal Tisserant softly pronounced the words: "The Holy Father is dead." With his words began a solemn interregnum that will end only when the newly elected Pope walks from the Sistine Chapel to bless the crowds waiting in St. Peter's Square.

Since Pius XII had not filled the office that would become most important after his death, that of Camerlengo (chamberlain), the 13 cardinals in Rome on the day he died hurriedly chose one: 79-year-old Vatican Diplomat Benedetto Aloisi Cardinal Masella. One of...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!