Rome

Church should be in no rush to elect new pope, says Dolan

Vatican says conclave may be held before mid March

Church should be in no rush to elect new pope, says Dolan

Rome, February 18 - The Catholic Church should be in no rush to elect a new pontiff, following Pope Benedict XVI's shock announcement last week that he is stepping down, the Archbishop of New York Timothy Dolan has said. The Vatican initially said the conclave to elect a new pope will not take place until 15 to 20 days after Benedict leaves the position on February 28, in accordance with Church rules. But at the weekend Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said the conclave may start earlier, given that the pope has not died, but has quit. Cardinals from around the world have begun informal talks about what sort of person the next pope should be and many are already in Rome. Some reports have suggested the Church may want to accelerate proceedings in order have a new pope installed before Palm Sunday on March 24, so he can preside at the Holy Week services leading up to Easter. But Dolan said that the 117 cardinals who will elect the next head of the Church should have plenty of time to reflect. "I haven't heard anything about the possibility of bringing forward the conclave, I'm waiting for instructions," Dolan, who is considered one of the cardinals who is in with a chance of becoming pope, told Turin daily La Stampa. "I'm impatient to meet in prayer with my fellow cardinals. "(But) we realise that patience is needed, because there are many delicate questions to address. I don't think we want to rush the conclave. "The important thing (now) is to be here, express our love and best wishes for Pope Benedict, pray together and then make the decisions". photo: Archbishop of New York Timothy Dolan

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