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Cardinals balk at setting date for conclave

Catholic World News - March 05, 2013

The College of Cardinals, meeting on March 5 for the 2nd day of the sede vacante period, declined to set a date for their conclave.

The cardinals decided to ask the universal Church to devote Wednesday, March 6, to prayer for the cardinal-electors in their deliberations. The cardinals will gather in St. Peter’s basilica on Wednesday afternoon for Vespers and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, with Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the dean of the College of Cardinals, presiding.

Briefing reporters after the Tuesday-morning meeting, Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, said that the cardinals were evidently in “no rush” to proceed with the conclave. He pointed out that the cardinals’ congregation had chosen not to hold meeting on Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon, suggesting that this decision underlined their intention to proceed deliberately.

During the daily congregations, cardinals have spoken about the needs of the Church and the procedures for electing a new Roman Pontiff. Father Lombardi reported that 33 cardinals have taken the opportunity to address the congregation.

There were 148 cardinals present at the Tuesday meeting, and 110 of the 115 cardinal-electors had arrived in Rome. The conclave cannot begin until all of the cardinal-electors are present, but a date could be set while some are absent. The issue seems moot, however, since all 115 are expected to be in Rome on Wednesday.

The cardinals’ failure to set a date for the conclave seems to indicate that there is a difference of opinion on the wisdom of proceeding quickly with the election of a new Pontiff. Some cardinals—particularly those from outside Rome—have suggested that they would like to hear a more complete explanation of recent troubles within the Roman Curia before proceeding with the papal election.

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  • Posted by: jeremiahjj - Mar. 05, 2013 5:56 PM ET USA

    I would appeal to the cardinals to ask one of their own, Roger Mahony, to "sit this one out." The fact that he was asked to attend the conclave by the papal nuncio carries no weight; quite the contrary, it suggests to me that covering up for sexual scandals go further up the clerical ladder than we had hoped. For the good of the church, Cardinal Mahony should take the next plane home and leave the selection of the next pope to cardinals who have not sullied the church's reputation.

  • Posted by: visions - Mar. 05, 2013 3:38 PM ET USA

    Some suggestions: March 12, feast of St Gregory the Great, March 17 St. Patrick (Sunday), March 18, Our Lady of Mercy, March 19, St. Joseph

  • Posted by: Don Vicente - Mar. 05, 2013 3:21 PM ET USA

    What about Cardinal Keith O'Brien of Scotland? He is an elector, just shy of 75 years of age, but he will not be attending. Is there some special provision for him?

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