Devin Scillian in Rome: We're just hours from the start of the conclave

By Devin Scillian - Anchor
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ROME - We're just a few hours away from the start of the conclave as the cardinals will march single file into the Sistine Chapel (which is one of the more extraordinary workspaces in the world).

We'll be in for a wait, of course, but it's a wait that is steeped in history.  

Think back over the ages about the crowds that gathered in the piazza and waited for the same news that thousands and thousands will await here. And what a setting.

I studied a lot of art history in college and I had a professor who became very emotional as he described Bernini's work here at the Vatican, and in particular, St. Peter's basilica.  

At the time I thought it was just his art history professor quirkiness and that he was a little over the top. And then, years later, I wished he had been at my side when I finally laid eyes on the basilica myself.

I felt the goosebumps rise as I came through the massive doors and walked past the Pieta, and then by the time I turned the corner and looked up the apse toward those towering spiral pillars around the altar I had tears in my eyes.

(I should perhaps mention here that I am not Catholic, so this was something beyond an attachment to my faith.)

But from the basilica out to the piazza and through the circular colonnade, it is a spectacular in which we find these men trying to find a way forward for a church that critics would note has not been as beautiful as its headquarters.

The faithful can only hope the cardinals will feel the divine inspiration that seems to have guided Bernini with such clarity.

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