Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Vatican spokesman briefs reporters on papal interregnum

Catholic World News - February 22, 2013

At a February 22 briefing for reporters, Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, explained the canonical implications of Pope Benedict’s resignation, and the governance of the Holy See during the days before a new Pontiff is elected.

When Pope Benedict’s resignation takes effect, Father Lombardi said, the Holy See will be vacant. During this sede vacante period, he said, the ruling principle of canon law is “sede vacante nihil innovetur--There is to be no innovation during a vacancy.”

The day-to-day administration of the Vatican during the interregnum is done by the College of Cardinals, acting collectively. The cardinals will begin meeting in daily “congregations” on March 1, the day after the Pope’s resignations. Among their first decisions, the cardinals will set a date for the conclave that will elect the next Pope. The procedures for a conclave are set forth in the apostolic constitution Universit Dominici Gregis, issued by Pope John Paul II and amended in 2007 by Pope Benedict XVI. The procedures require a 15-day waiting period between the time when the Holy See becomes vacant and the beginning of the conclave. However, Father Lombardi reminded reporters that Pope Benedict might issue a motu proprio amending the procedures and allowing for an earlier conclave.

Once the conclave begins, a two-thirds majority is required to elect the new Pontiff. If the voting remains inconclusive after 33 ballots, the cardinals’ choice will be limited to the two top vote-getters in the last round of voting.

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 ($23,909 to go):
$150,000.00 $126,090.96
16% 84%
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

Which American archbishops—if any—will receive red hats at the February conclave? December 23
A Blessed Christmas! December 23
Facing entrenched opposition, Pope Francis plows ahead on Vatican reform December 22
The cardinal who can't let go December 22
Denial of Service Attack: Success! December 19

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
Pope identifies 15 spiritual ‘sicknesses’ of the Curia CWN - December 22