CARDINALS PREPARE FOR IMMINENT CONCLAVE
Vatican City, 9 March 2013 (VIS) The first order of business of the eighth General Congregation, which met yesterday evening and in which 145 cardinals participated, was to vote on the date to begin the Conclave. Cardinal Dean Angelo Sodano, expressing the wishes of all and after having consulted with the Cardinal Camerlengo Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., regarding the preparations at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, proposed the date of Tuesday, 12 March. The overwhelming majority immediately voted in agreement, reported Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J.,director of the Holy See Press Office. There was no difference of opinion between the cardinals and the percentage of votes in favour of to those against was around 10 to one. Moreover, Fr. Lombardi added, the full complement of Cardinal electors was already reached and it was no longer considered necessary to wait further, as they already had time to reflect on their decision.
Fifteen cardinals intervened during the course of the Congregation and two newly arrived cardinals were sworn in, neither of which is a Cardinal elector: Cardinal Miguel Obando Bravo, S.D.B., archbishop emeritus of Managua, Nicaragua, and Cardinal Gaudencio Borbon Rosales, archbishop emeritus of Manila, Philippines.
During the ninth General Congregation that met this morning, the cardinals spoke about moving into the Domus Sanctae Marthae, which will be their residence for the duration of the Conclave. It was agreed by majority that the move will take place on Tuesday morning, beginning from 7:00am, that is, the same day that the Conclave begins. A Pro eligendo Romano Pontifice Mass will be celebrated by the Cardinal Dean at 10:00am that morning in St. Peter's Square. Rooms were also assigned, by lot.
This morning 17 cardinals intervened, speaking on the same general themes that have been previously reported, including: expectations regarding the new Pope, activities of the Holy See and its Dicasteries, and improving the Curia. In total, there have been 133 interventions in the General Congregations and, keeping in mind those scheduled for Monday, that number will probably reach 150.
At the end of the press conference, the schedule for the sessions of the Conclave was presented. On Tuesday at 3:45 p.m., the cardinals will move from the Domus Sanctae Marthae to the Pauline Chapel in the Apostolic Palace. At 4:30 p.m., the cardinals will process from the Pauline Chapel to the Sistine Chapel and, after they have all taken the oath, the Master of Papal Liturgical Celebrations will give the order Extra omnes for all those not taking part in the Conclave to leave the Sistine Chapel. The cardinals will listen to a meditation given by Cardinal Prosper Grech, O.S.A., concerning the grave duty incumbent on them and thus on the need to act with right intention for the good of the Universal Church, after which they will proceed to the first vote. At 7:00 p.m. they will pray Vespers and, at 7:30 p.m., will return to the Domus Sanctae Marthae.
Beginning on Wednesday, 13 March, the cardinals will move from the Domus Sanctae Marthae to the Pauline Chapel at 7:45 a.m. where, at 8:15 a.m., they will celebrate Mass. At 9:30 a.m. they will enter the Sistine Chapel, pray the Liturgy of the Hours, and proceed to the voting process. Around 12:00 p.m. they will return to the Domus Sanctae Marthae and, after lunch there, will go back to the Sistine Chapel at 4:00 p.m. where they will pray briefly and resume the voting procedure until 7:00 p.m.
This coming Monday, 11 March, all the auxiliary personnel needed to ensure the smooth operations of the Conclave will take the oath of secrecy and those images will be broadcast by Vatican Television.
Since there are two votes each morning and afternoon, Fr. Lombardi stated that the 'fumata' (smoke signalling the election or non-election of a pontiff) that is produced from the burning of the ballots from those two voting processes could be expected around 12:00 p.m., in the case of the morning, or 7:00 p.m., in the case of the evening, unless the first of the two votes produces an election. In such an instance, the fumata would obviously take place earlier.
The Director of the Holy See Press Office also recalled the procedure in the case that a pontiff is not elected in the first four days of voting. In such an instance the cardinals will take a pause on the fifth day in order to pray, speak freely among themselves, and listen to a brief exhortation given by the senior cardinal in the Order of Deacons. The scrutinies will proceed in a similar fashion--two days of voting with every third day taken to pause for prayer--until the 34th vote on the afternoon of the eleventh day. In such an event, No. 75 of the Apostolic Constitution Universi Dominici Gregis modified by Benedict XVI's recent Motu Proprio would apply, which states: If the balloting mentioned in Nos. 72, 73, and 74 of the aforementioned Constitution does not result in an election, one day shall be dedicated to prayer, reflection and dialogue; in the successive balloting, observing the order established in No. 74 of the same Constitution, only the two names which received the greatest number of votes in the previous scrutiny, will have passive voice. There can be no waiving of the requirement that, in these ballots too, for a valid election to take place there must be a clear majority of at least two thirds of the votes of the Cardinals present and voting. In these ballots the two names having passive voice do not have active voice. That is, the two candidates with the greatest number of votes will be voted for and cannot themselves cast a vote.
Fr. Lombardi reported that the commission that, under the direction of the Camerlengo, is responsible for sealing the entrances to the areas of the Conclave and carrying out the other operations necessary for the safeguarding of the Conclave was established. It is led by the Cardinal Camerlengo and among its members are the Substitute of the Secretariat of State, the Commandant of the Swiss Guards, members of the Gendarmerie, and notaries.
Finally he reported that the Pope's Fisherman's Ring--which exists in two forms, the ring itself and as a stamp used to seal documents--as well as two stamps--a larger and a smaller one--and the master lead seal of the pontificate were all destroyed, the images scratched out in the form of a cross to render them useless. The next Pope's ring will bear the same image of Peter casting his net but, naturally, will have the new pontiff's name inscribed above the image.It was also communicated that tomorrow, Sunday, 10 March, various cardinals will celebrate Mass at their titular churches, inviting the faithful to pray for the Church and for the election of the new pontiff.
The second General Congregation was held in the afternoon, from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m., on 4 March. Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM Cap., preacher of the Pontifical Household, gave the first of two meditations which are provided for by the Apostolic Constitution.
An additional five Cardinal electors who had arrived in Rome swore the oath: Cardinal Béchara Boutros Raï, O.M.M., patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites, Lebanon; Cardinal Joachim Meisner, archbishop of Cologne, Germany; Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, archbishop of Berlin, Germany; Cardinal Théodore-Adrien Sarr, archbishop of Dakar, Senegal; and Cardinal Dominik Jaroslav Duka, O.P., archbishop of Prague, Czech Republic.
It was decided that, on Tuesday and Wednesday, the Congregations will only be held in the morning.
Nine members of the College of Cardinals then addressed the gathering.
The third General Congregation took place from 9:30 a.m. until 12:40 p.m. on the morning of 5 March.
Seven newly arrived cardinals took the oath. Three are Cardinal electors: Antonio María Rouco Varela, archbishop of Madrid; Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, and Anthony Olubunmi Okogie, archbishop emeritus of Lagos, Nigeria. The other four are cardinals over the age of 80: Cardinal Michael Michai Kitbunchu, archbishop emeritus of Bangkok, Thailand; Cardinal Emmanuel Wamala, archbishop emeritus of Kampala, Uganda; Cardinal Eusébio Oscar Scheid, S.C.I., archbishop emeritus of São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and Cardinal Christian Wiyghan Tumi, archbishop emeritus of Douala, Cameroon. In total there were 148 cardinals present, 110 of whom are Cardinal electors.
There were 11 interventions from Cardinal fathers discussing topics related to: activities of the Holy See and its relations with bishops throughout the world; Church renewal in light of Vatican Council II; the Church's position and the need for the New Evangelization in today's world with its diverse cultural environments.
In the 33 interventions that have been given since the beginning of the Congregations, each of the continents has been represented and a wide range of topics has been covered. The Cardinal fathers address the gathering in the order that they have made the request to speak.
Number 37 of the Apostolic Constitution Universi Dominici Gregis was read, with the changes introduced by the recent Motu Proprio, regarding the beginning date of the Conclave.
The Cardinal Dean proposed a text for the telegram to be sent to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI at Castel Gandolfo, which the Congregation approved.
This afternoon, Tuesday, 5 March, work begins in the Sistine Chapel to prepare for the Conclave. It is therefore now closed to the public.
142 of the 207 Cardinals from the College of Cardinals were present Monday morning for the First General Congregation in preparation for Conclave. Of those present Monday 103 are Cardinal electors, meaning that 12 Cardinal electors are still on their way to Rome.
The number of Cardinals present was the first and perhaps most important information revealed to a packed Press Office, lunchtime Monday, by Director Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., in the daily Vacant See briefing.
He said the general congregation, which took place in a "warm, serene atmosphere of great spiritual communion", got underway at 9:30 sharp, with those present taking up their places in the New Synod Hall according to the established precedence : Cardinal Bishops, Cardinal Priests and Cardinal Deacons.
Following a brief welcome address by the Dean of the College of Cardinals, Angelo Sodano, the College together invoked the Holy Spirit. Then, as prescribed by note 12 of the Apostolic Constitution governing papal elections, they recited the first part of the solemn oath for the election of the Pontiff in unison. Then each Cardinal present made his way to the Book of the Gospels, placed beneath a Crucifix, and completed the oath .
The election then took place of the first 'particular congregation', composed of three representatives, one per order, who will aid the Camerlengo in the government of the Church for a period of three days. The names are chosen by lots and are as follows:
The Apostolic Constitution, continued Fr. Lombardi, also requires two meditations, one during the general congregations and the second before the start of conclave. The first will be given Monday afternoon, by the preacher to the Papal Household, Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa.
The Dean also proposed the Congregation send a message to the Pope emeritus, Benedict XVI, which was unanimously accepted.
Following a coffee break there were three brief, dense interventions aimed at giving an idea of the Universal Churches concerns and organization of the days to come, lasting a total of 45 minutes.
This report can be seen in forty different languages at the Vatican Radio site.
This is the text of the letter from the cardinal dean, taken from the Vatican Information Service (CIS), 01-03-2013 - Year XXIII - Num. 45:
As prescribed in the Apostolic Constitution Universi Dominici Gregis of 22 February 1996 at No. 19, analogous to the case of the death of the Supreme Pontiff, I have the duty to officially communicate to Your Eminence the news of the vacancy of the Apostolic See from the renunciation presented by Pope Benedict XVI effective from yesterday evening, 28 February, at 8:00 p.m. in Rome.
On communicating this to you I fulfill my duty of summoning Your Eminence to the first of the General Congregations of the College of Cardinals, to be held on Monday, 4 March, at 9:30am in the Synod of Bishops Room in the Paul VI Hall.
The General Congregations will then continue normally until the complete number of Cardinal electors is gathered and the College of Cardinals decides the date for those Cardinal electors to enter into Conclave on the basis of what the recent Motu Proprio of 22 February established regarding modifications in the norms relating to the election of the Roman Pontiff.
On my part, I am pleased to take this opportunity to send you my fraternal greetings.This first General Congregation will take place on Monday, 4 March, at 9:30am in the Paul VI Aula, Synod of Bishopshall. A second General Congregation is also scheduled for 5:00 p.m. in the same place.
BENEDICT XVI WILL BE POPE EMERITUS
Vatican City, 26 February 2013 (VIS) Benedict XVI will be "Pontiff emeritus" or "Pope emeritus", as Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., director of the Holy See Press Office, reported in a press conference on the final days of the current pontificate. He will keep the name of "His Holiness, Benedict XVI" and will dress in a simple white cassock without the mozzetta (elbow-length cape).
More than 50,000 tickets have already been requested for the Pope's final general audience tomorrow morning, 27 February, but greater attendance is expected. Except for the trip around St. Peter's Square in the popemobile and the exclusion of the "bacciamani" (brief personal greetings that take place after the ceremony), the audience will take place as usual. At its conclusion, the Pope will go to the Clementine Hall of the Vatican Palace to meet with some of the civil authorities who are present in Rome or who have travelled here to wish him farewell. Among these dignitaries will be the presidents of Slovakia and of the German region of Bavaria.
On the morning of 28 February, the last day of his pontificate, the Pope will meet with, again in the Clementine Hall, the cardinals that are present in Rome. At 4:55 p.m., in the San Damaso Courtyard of the Vatican Apostolic Palace and before a detachment of the Swiss Guards, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., secretary of State of His Holiness, and other members of that dicastery will bid him farewell. The Pope's helicopter will land at Castel Gandolfo at 5:15 p.m., where he will be received by Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello and Bishop Giuseppe Sciacca, respectively president and secretary general of the Governorate of Vatican City State along with Bishop Marcello Semeraro of the Diocese of Albano, and civil authorities of the locality.
Benedict XVI will appear at the balcony of the Castel Gandolfo Apostolic Palace to greet those who have gathered in the square to wish him well. The Sede Vacante will begin at 8:00 p.m. and the Swiss Guards assigned to him at Castel Gandolfo will take their leave, as their corps is dedicated to the safe-guarding of the Roman Pontiff. Instead, the Vatican Gendarmerie will take over the Pope emeritus' safety detail.
Fr. Lombardi also explained that Benedict XVI will no longer use the "Fisherman's Ring", which will be destroyed along with the lead seal of the pontificate. This task falls to the cardinal camerlengo and his assistants. Likewise, the Press Office director announced that the Pope will no longer wear the red papal shoes.
Regarding the beginning of the Congregations of Cardinals, the dean of the College of Cardinals will send a letter to all the cardinals on 1 March, calling them to Rome. "It is likely, therefore," Fr. Lombardi added, "that the congregations will begin starting next week."
The congregations will be held in the new Synod Hall. The prelates will not be housed in the Casa Santa Marta residence until the eve of the beginning of the Conclave for various reasons, including the fact that rooms are to be assigned by lot during the congregations.
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