Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Pope to change rules, allow early conclave?

Catholic World News - February 20, 2013

Pope Benedict XVI will change the rules governing a papal conclave to allow an earlier election of his successor, according to Andrea Tornielli of La Stampa. The Vatican has confirmed that the Pontiff is considering such an amendment.

Tornielli reports that Pope Benedict will issue a motu proprio before his resignation takes effect on February 28, amending Universi Dominci Gregis, the document that sets the rules for a papal conclave. That document currently stipulates that when the Holy See becomes vacant, 15 days must pass before the conclave begins. The Pope will allow the cardinals to change that rule at their discretion, Tornielli says.

Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, confirmed that the Pope is considering a change in the conclave rules, but said that no final decision has been made. “I don’t know if he will deem it necessary or appropriate,” the Vatican spokesman said.

The requirement for a 15-day waiting period was instituted in order to allow time for cardinals to reach Rome after learning of a Pontiff's death. Since Pope Benedict announced his plan to step down, the world's cardinals have already had ample time to make their travel plans, and some Church leaders have suggested that an earlier conclave would be beneficial, ensuring that a new Pope would be in place by Holy Week.

Only the Pope can alter the rules governing a conclave. This week Pope Benedict has set aside most paperwork as he makes his annual Lenten Retreat. Once his resignation takes effect, Pope Benedict would no longer have the authority to make the change.

Pope Benedict has already made one change in the rules, Tornielli notes. Universi Dominci Gregis, promulgated by Pope John Paul II, allowed for the possibility that a new Pope could be elected by a bare majority of the cardinal-electors under some circumstances. Pope Benedict eliminated that possibility, restoring the requirement for a two-thirds majority.

Additional sources for this story
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Our Fall Campaign
Progress toward our year-end goal ($25,337 to go):
$150,000.00 $124,662.96
17% 83%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

There are no comments yet for this item.

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Denial of Service Attack: Success! December 19
Federal debt as a social-justice concern December 19
Another side of Francis: US-Cuba role shows Pope's diplomatic muscle December 18
Silly season: a Christmas approaches, a scholar questions whether Jesus ever existed December 18
The intrinsic immorality of torture: still not convinced? December 18

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope Francis: Europe seems 'elderly and haggard' CWN - November 25
Pope Francis, Ecumenical Patriarch sign joint declaration, lament persecution of Christians CWN - December 1
Consistory for new cardinals scheduled for February CWN - December 11
Vatican report on US women religious calls for further self-assessment CWN - December 16
Pope brokered deal to open US-Cuba ties CWN - December 17