Vatican officials Wednesday told cardinals gathered for the election of the next pope to stop speaking to the media, as further indications emerged that a conclave would not start early next week as had been expected.
American cardinals who were scheduled to hold their third media briefing in as many days canceled it less than an hour before it was to have started at Rome's North American College, where they are residing.
A spokeswoman for the American cardinals said "concern" was expressed at Wednesday's meeting "about leaks of confidential proceedings reported in Italian newspapers."
More than 150 cardinals attended the third day of the preliminary meetings to sketch a profile for the next pope following the abdication of Pope Benedict XVI last month. All but two of the 115 "cardinal electors" aged under 80 have arrived for the meetings, the Vatican said.