The New Papal Rules

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VATICAN CITY: The ancient walls of the Sistine Chapel, the site of the papal conclaves where the College of Cardinals secretly chooses a new pope will soon be guarded against sophisticated electronic eavesdropping. A new rule book for papal conclaves written by Pope John Paul II lays down new rules for the conclaves. Included in the new rules: checks to ensure that "no audiovisual equipment" has been secretly installed. John Paul's revision of the conclave rules is not unusual -- nearly every pope this century has made changes, and John Paul is unusually sensitive to new technologies. Under his auspices, Vatican documents appear on the World Wide Web, for example. "There was an awareness of the electronic surveillance at the last conclave in 1978," says TIME's Richard Ostling. "There has always been a strong security consciousness in the church. This is just a new generation of problems. It has always been an important issue to the Vatican that the discussions in selecting a new pope take place in strictest privacy."