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Papal spokesman comments on date for conclave, talks with SSPX

Catholic World News - February 21, 2013

The Vatican has confirmed once again that the Pope may issue a motu proprio allowing for a papal conclave to begin soon after he steps down, but rejected reports that the status of the Society of St. Pius X must be resolved before the Pope's resignation.

At a press briefing on February 21, Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, said that the Pope is now weighing a motu proprio that could alter the rules for a papal election, allowing the cardinals to begin their meeting without the 15-day waiting period required by existing rules. That document “is being worked no right now,” the papal spokesman said. He promised that reporters would be notified when the document is completed, but said that no major changes in procedures were likely.

The date for the opening of a conclave will be set by the cardinals at an initial meeting after the Pope’s resignation becomes official, Father Lombardi said. During a papal interregnum, the cardinals who are present in Rome meet daily in “congregations” to handle administrative affairs and settle procedures for the conclave.

Regarding another issue that has prompted many questions from the media, Father Lombardi said that Pope Benedict would not make any final decision on the status of the Society of St. Pius X. That matter would be passed along to the next Pontiff, he said. Some Vatican analysts had questioned whether the traditionalist group was facing a hard deadline to conclude talks with the Vatican before the Pope’s resignation takes effect. No such deadline exists, Father Lombardi said.

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