THE MOST IMPORTANT POLLING STATION -- THE SISTINE CHAPEL -- I S WHERE 115 CARDINALS SEE 'BIG PICTURE'

As 115 Roman Catholic cardinals parade into the Vatican's Sistine Chapel on Tuesday to begin voting on the next pope, they will be braced by priceless art that 5 million tourists a year pay $20 each to crane their necks to capture the time-honored highest point in officialdom. 

Small wonder their name; the cardinal bird wears it as well as the Pope's backstops. Marching orders are to name a new pope --see the 'big picture' -- to choose a worthy successor to St. Peter, the first pontiff. AS Cardinal Timothy Dilan put it, "Those walls (with stirring scenes of wars) tell the cardinals their decision isn't only for right here and now, but for the larger mission of, "getting into heaven."

Neither the 15th century chapel nor its priceless artworks take their minds from the immediate decision - which they do in silence. It wasn't commissioned for papal conclaves but was used for the "holiest of masses." Many a cardinal has said the Holy Spirit is at work in that room.
The cardinals entering that room this week are just the latest players in a still-evolving drama of faith.