Mercoledì, 17 Ottobre 2018
VATICAN CITY

Conclave down to 116 as questions surrounding cardinals stir

English
© ANSA

Vatican City, February 22 - In the days leading up
to the formal resignation of Benedict XVI, attention is
increasingly focusing on the princes of the Church who will
elect his successor as controversies stir.
The conclave of cardinals due to elect a new pope next
month dropped down to 116 on Friday after Indonesia's cardinal
announced he will not go to Rome due to ailing health.
"I will not go. My eyesight does not allow me," said
Cardinal Julius Riyadi Darmaatmadja in an interview with
Jakarta-based magazine Hidup Katolik.
Darmaatmadja, 78, added that he would be unable to read
"texts, materials, rules, and so on" during the selection
process.
"For this I ask forgiveness from the Catholic Church of
Indonesia, that I cannot represent (the country) in this very
important event," he said.
Vatican Spokesman Federico Lombardi said that the
congregation of cardinals still had to formalize his absence.
Benedict XVI will formally step down from the papacy
February 28 following his shocking announcement last week that
he no longer had the physical and mental strength to lead.
The conclave of cardinals to elect his successor is
expected to commence mid-March, but Benedict may issue a
temporary change of rules to start it sooner.
If so, it would not be the first change he has made to
procedure since announcing his resignation.
Vatican daily L'Osservatore Romano reported Friday that he
had already made changes to the rites performed at the beginning
of a pontificate.
The changes pertain to two ceremonies: the celebration of
the start of the ministry of the Bishop of Rome, and the
celebration of the enthronement at the basilica of St John
Lateran in Rome.
Both rites, in which all cardinals present in Rome will
participate, shall now be performed before the holy mass.
The changes were finalized during a papal audience with
Father Guido Marini, master of pontifical liturgical
celebrations, on Monday, the daily said.
Furthermore the new pope will no longer be required to
immediately visit the two papal basilicas of Saint Paul outside
the Walls and Saint Mary Major, but "when he finds it most
opportune" to do so, said Marini.
On Friday Benedict appointed Father Antonio Camilleri to
replace Father Ettore Balestrero as the new undersecretary for
relations with states amid rumours of the latter's involvement
in the recent so-called Vatileaks affair.
Monsignor Camilleri previously served as nunciature
counsellor in the same department.
Monsignor Balestrero, a close aide of Secretary of State
Tarcisio Bertone, oversaw relations between the Holy See and the
controversial Vatican Bank (IOR) and headed up the Vatican
delegation to the Council of Europe's Moneyval committee on
financial transparency in its bid to join the 'white list' of
states that respect international standards on combatting money
laundering and the financing of terrorism.
He has been appointed apostolic nuncio to Colombia and
archbishop of the city of Vittoriana.
The Church denied there was any connection between the new
appointments and the Vatileaks scandal.
Meanwhile the priest sex-abuse scandals continued to heat
up in the days leading up to the election of a new pontiff.
Belgium's Cardinal Godfried Daneels has become the latest
prince of the church whose presence at next month's conclave has
been questioned because of sex-abuse allegations.
Belgian radio station Vivacite' launched a poll Friday
asking listeners whether Daneels, accused of covering predator
priests in 2010, should go to Rome to help vote in a successor
to Pope Benedict XVI.
The poll is being covered live by Belgian TV station
LaDeux.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, the head of the Irish
Church, Cardinal Sean Brady, and former Los Angeles archbishop
Cardinal Roger Mahony are all facing calls not to attend.
Catholic members of Italian consumer association Codacons
on Friday submitted a request to prosecutors to open a sex-abuse
investigation into Mahony if he comes to Rome for the conclave,
but also asked Benedict XVI to prevent him from attending at
all.
"We maintain there are sufficient grounds to put him under
investigation as soon as he enters our country," said a
statement from the group.
Mahony must answer questions under oath Saturday about a
visiting Mexican priest who in 1987 is believed to have molested
26 children.
In its petition to prosecutors, Codacons said "we must
bring to light whether there were any Italians who were
victimized".
Codacons also asked the pope to intervene.
"Considering the requests from the Christian world, keep
the cardinal from participating in the conclave," they said.

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