With the sede vacante now in effect, Peter's keys now rest in the collective hands of the college of cardinals – the successors of the ancient clergy of Rome – their interim governance to be exercised first in the general congregations that begin early Monday... then culminating, of course, in a Conclave whose start-date is not looking to emerge until Tuesday at the earliest (at least, as things presently stand).
When it comes to the road ahead, there's been no shortage of talk and oceans worth of ink spilled over these last 19 days. In reality, though, it's only now that – amid circumstances unforeseen a month ago which have upended the thought-process that underpins this period, birthing a new reality which could well shift the outcome – The Making of The Pope really begins in earnest.
And as these days unfold, 115 "crown princes" will make their way around Rome: a vote hanging over each of their heads... but especially amid the open field of this election, likewise bearing a bit of awareness that – at least in theory, but often more – it could be any one of them....
More on the stakes in due course. Most of all, though, just sit back, relax and enjoy the show.