Q: Pope Benedict XVI resigns today. Who gets the pick the next Pope, and how?
A: All the cardinals who are of voting age will gather together in a closed meeting and vote. This meeting is called a conclave. It does not end, until a new Pope has been chosen by a two-thirds majority vote.
Q: What if the cardinals vote, and there is no clear winner?
A: Then they must vote again. When Blessed John Paul II became Pope, it was on the eighth vote of a conclave.
Q: What if a cardinal does not want to vote for the next Pope?
A: All cardinals of voting age are required to attend the conclave, if they are not prevented by extenuating circumstances, such as fatal illness. The cardinals can vote on what counts as a legitimate extenuating circumstance.
Q: Do the cardinals have to choose a cardinal as the next Pope?
A: No. The cardinals can select any baptized male as the next Pope.
Q: Does that mean they can elect someone who is not a priest?
A: Yes. Should this happen, he would be made a priest (and bishop) before becoming Pope, as the Pope is the Bishop of Rome.
Q: Is it likely that the cardinals will elect a non-priest as Pope?
A: No. This has not happened since 1513.
Q: Who will the cardinals pick as the pope in the upcoming conclave?
A: It is best to wait and see who they pick.