Pope Benedict XVI's replacement will follow in the grueling footsteps of the emeritus pontiff and his predecessor, Pope John Paul II. How do popes fill their long days?
Pier Paolo Cito/Pool/Reuters/File
As the Catholic Church's cardinals gather in Rome to set a date for the selection of a new pope, there is no clear front-runner for the job. But one thing is for sure: The next pontiff will have a grueling schedule.
The recently retired Pope Benedict XVI and his predecessor, John Paul II, both worked days that could stretch from 5 a.m. until 11 p.m. or even midnight, said Don Briel, the director of the Center for Catholic Studies at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota.
What this means on a daily basis is that the pope has duties both political and religious. The pope meets with heads of state and maintains diplomatic relationships with more than 100 nations. He conducts liturgies, appoints new bishops and travels.
He doesn't, however, work like a corporate CEO, dipping into the local and daily workings of regional parishes, Briel said.