EWTN Catholic Q&A
What happens now?
Question from Amanda on 04-02-2005:

So now that Pope John Paul II is dead, what will happen now? I know that the Cardinals get together and vote. But when will that take place? How soon after the Pope is dead do they elect a new one?

Answer by David Gregson on 04-03-2005:

It's not certain yet when the Conclave to elect the next Pope will begin. The funeral must take place and then there will be a nine-day period of mourning. The first possible day for the Conclave to begin is April 17. How long the election will take can't be determined beforehand. The last possible day when the Conclave may begin is April 21.