Mercoledì, 24 Ottobre 2018
VATICAN CITY

Benedict may issue 'motu proprio' on conclave rules

English
© ANSA

Vatican City, February 20 - Pope Benedict XVI may
issue a document on the rules of the conclave to elect his
successor before he steps down as pontiff, Vatican spokesman
Father Federico Lombardi said Wednesday.
Lombardi said Benedict may issue a 'motu proprio', a
document that popes can use to make changes to Church law or
procedure.
The spokesman did not rule out the possibility that the
motu proprio would concern changes so that the conclave could
take place earlier than mid-March.
The Vatican initially said that the conclave would not take
place until 15 to 20 days after Benedict leaves the position on
February 28, in accordance with Church rules.
But at the weekend Lombardi said the conclave may start
earlier, given that the pope has not died, but has quit.
Many cardinals are already in Rome and they have begun
informal talks about what sort of person the next pope should
be.
Some clergymen want the conclave to be held earlier to
reduce the amount of time the world's 1.2 billion Catholics have
to spend without a leader.
According to reports, some cardinals are hoping to
accelerate proceedings in order to have a new pope installed
before Palm Sunday on March 24, so he can preside over the Holy
Week services leading up to Easter.
"I don't know whether he (Benedict) will deem it necessary
or opportune to provide clarifications about the issue of when
the conclave starts," said Lombardi.
The spokesman said Benedict was considering drafting a motu
proprio to harmonize two different documents that govern the
period when the papacy is vacant - usually because the previous
pontiff has died - and the specifics of the conclave.
Some 117 cardinals under the age of 80 will be eligible to
enter the conclave, which will be held in the Sistine Chapel
under Michelangelo's famous frescoed ceiling.
Just over half of the cardinals who will vote, 61, are
European.
Italy is the country with most electors in this conclave,
28.
Benedict named 67 of those cardinals and his much-loved
predecessor, John Paul II, appointed the rest.
Benedict is a doctrinal conservative and so was John Paul.
This factor has influenced the make-up of the college of
cardinals and experts say it is likely to lead to the next pope
being a conservative regarding issues such as ending the ban on
women becoming priests and greater acceptance of homosexuality.

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