A day after speaking from his apartment window for the last time, Pope Benedict XVI changed the rules for the upcoming conclave, allowing cardinals to move up the start date if they're all in Rome before the usual 15-day transition period.
Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl left for Rome Sunday night, saying this could be the most important decision of his life.
'I really need your prayers. I really need the prayers of everyone so that I can hear that voice of the spirit," Wuerl said.
And the conclave will get underway amid new turbulence.
Monday, the Vatican announced that Pope Benedict has accepted the resignation of Scotland's top Catholic figure, Cardinal Keith O'Brien, saying he turns 75 next month - the normal retirement age for bishops.
But Sunday, a British paper reported allegation that O'Brien abused four men studying to be priests in the 1980s, allegations the British Cardinal denies.
In Los Angeles, some are now demanding Cardinal Roger Mahony not be allowed to vote in the conclave either, saying he covered up the crimes of pedophile priests.
Vatican Analyst Marco Politi said, "This movement is going on, and now it is knocking at the door of the conclave."
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, added, "You get tons of rumors, so many whispers...most of it is not true."
A Vatican expert says while some cardinals in the past have not voted due to illness, electing the pope is their most important duty and non have ever before passed up a conclave because of personal scandal.