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90 aides, support staff for conclave, sworn to secrecy

March 11, 2013

Vision Book Cover Prints

About 90 aides and technical assistants will assist at the papal conclave, and have been sworn to secrecy, the Vatican has announced.

All of the support personnel have been approved by the camerlengo, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, and have been instructed about the meaning of the solemn oath, by which they swear never to disclose what they learn about the events of the conclave. Each person swore the oath in Cardinal Bertone’s presence on March 11.

The aides involved include:

  • the secretary of the College of Cardinals
  • the masters of pontifical ceremonies
  • the religious who work in the sacristy
  • the cleric chosen by the cardinal-dean* to act as his assistant
  • priests who will be available to hear confessions during the conclave
  • doctors and nurses who will be available in case any cardinal needs medical attention
  • cooking, cleaning, and transportation personnel
  • leaders of the Swiss Guard and of the security details for the conclave.

*- The Dean of the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, will not participate in the conclave because he is over the age of 80 and thus no longer a cardinal-elector. Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, the senior prelate among the cardinal-electors, will take his place. The cardinal-dean has the task of opening the conclave. When a candidate receives the required two-thirds of the votes, the cardinal-dean is responsible for asking that candidate if he accepts election.


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