AndRoman Catholic cardinals from around the world have gathered in Rome to begin the process of electing the next Pope.
Cardinals held prayers and swore oaths of secrecy at their first meeting, held by the College of Cardinals.
There will be a series of daily meetings leading up to a conclave, expected to begin next week, in which a new Pope will be chosen.
The first pre-conclave meeting on Monday morning was headed by the dean of the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Angelo Sodano.Just some good information from our friends at the BBC, getting us up to speed on the program leading up to the Conclave.
The Vatican said 101 of the 115 cardinals involved in the conclave have arrived in Rome. A further 12 are due to arrive either today or tomorrow, while two are not attending.
They are the UK's Cardinal Keith O'Brien, who is standing down amid allegations of improper behaviour, and Indonesia's Julius Darmaatmadja, who is ill.
At the pre-conclave meetings, cardinals - known as the "princes" of the Church - will discuss future challenges and discreetly weigh up possible papal candidates.
The conclave - to be held in the Sistine Chapel - is expected to take place next week, though the exact date will be agreed on in the coming days.