The Straits Times
Published on Feb 24, 2013

Crowds expected for pope as Vatican battles intrigue


VATICAN CITY (AFP) - Crowds are expected for Pope Benedict XVI's last Sunday prayers, as cardinals from around the world began arriving in Rome to elect his successor and the Vatican battled reports of high intrigue.

The 85-year-old pope will read out his traditional Angelus prayer and messages to Catholic faithful in different languages from the window of his apartment high above the crowd in St Peter's Square.

The prayer begins at 1100 GMT (7.00am on Sunday, Singapore time) and usually lasts only a few minutes.

City authorities have announced tight security in and around the Vatican, with more than 100 police officers and snipers on surrounding buildings, as well as two field hospitals and hundreds of volunteers to help pilgrims.