Vatican City

Hopes high for conclave date, all electors present

General congregations enter fifth day

Hopes high for conclave date, all electors present

Vatican City, March 8 - Hopes are high that a date for the conclave to elect the next pope will be announced on Friday as the "general congregations" enter their fifth day. All 115 cardinal electors are now in Rome after the last one, Jean Baptiste Pahm Minh Man of Vietnam, arrived on Thursday. The cardinals meeting at the pre-conclave congregations have so far been in no rush to set a date for the election of Benedict XVI's successor. Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said the cardinals wanted to make sure they were properly prepared before making a decision that will shape the future of the Catholic Church under Michelangelo's famous frescoes in the Sistine Chapel. Vatican watchers had thought March 11 likely for the start of the conclave but that is starting looks "optimistic", some have said. Nevertheless, the work on preparing the Sistine Chapel for the conclave is progressing well. Journalists were shown a film of the preparation work at a press conference on Thursday. It featured workers blacking out the windows to the ancient chapel to ensure secrecy and the installation of the chimney stack through which the world will first come to know when a Pope has been elected, with white smoke coming out if one has, black if not. The "general congregations" enable the cardinals to get to know each other better and share ideas about what characteristics the next leader of the Catholic Church should have. Over 150 cardinals are taking part in the congregations, but only 115 will participate in the conclave because only those under 80 are eligible to vote. There had been speculation that the cardinals would want to move quickly in order to have a new pontiff installed before Palm Sunday, March 24, so he could preside over the Holy Week ceremonies that lead up to Easter. Benedict changed the rules for the conclave in his final days as pontiff to make it possible for it to be held before the 15-20 days after the end of the previous papacy, given that he had stepped down, not died, and there was no funeral to organise. Benedict, 85, stepped down last week after announcing on February 11 that he no longer had the mental and physical strength to lead the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.

Lascia il tuo commento

Condividi le tue opinioni su Gazzetta del Sud online

Caratteri rimanenti: 400

Le altre notizie

i più letti di oggi