Giovedì, 17 Ottobre 2019
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New questions arise as conclave rules change


Vatican City, February 25 - With only four days
remaining before Benedict XVI steps down as pope, new questions
continue to surface regarding how his successor will be elected.
On Monday Benedict issued a decree changing the rules of
the conclave electing the new head of the Catholic Church.
The rule change allows the conclave to take place sooner
than the mandatory 15 days from a papacy's end, and so before
mid-March, the Vatican said.
"The cardinals will be permitted to bring forward the start
of the conclave, if they are all present," said the decree,
called 'motu proprio' in Latin.
Vatican Spokesman Federico Lombardi said: "We cannot
anticipate the date of the conclave, but it is likely a formal
decision will come in the first few days of March".
Benedict, who stunned the world February 11 by announcing
he would become the first pope in almost 600 years to abdicate,
steps down Thursday, February 28 at 20:00 Italian time (19:00
While the precise date of the conclave to elect the new
pope has yet to be announced, cardinals have been arriving in
Rome for weeks.
The number who will ultimately attend dropped by one Monday
following the resignation of Cardinal Keith O'Brien, the United
Kingdom's most senior Catholic cleric, after accusations of
"inappropriate behavior" toward other priests in the 1980s, the
BBC reported.
O'Brien is stepping down from his post as Archbishop of St
Andrews and Edinburgh.
Three priests and a former priest from the Scottish diocese
complained earlier this month to the pope's UK representative
Nuncio Antonio Mennini for what they claimed was the cardinal's
inappropriate behavior toward them in the 1980s, the Observer
newspaper reported.
In a statement Monday, the Vatican said that the pope had
accepted O'Brien's resignation last Monday.
"I have valued the opportunity of serving the people of
Scotland and overseas in various ways since becoming a priest,"
said O'Brien. "Looking back over my years of ministry, for any
good I have been able to do, I thank God. For any failures, I
apologise to all whom I have offended".
The resignation throws the Catholic Church in Scotland into
crisis and strikes a heavy blow to the Church as a whole, as the
Vatican battles for its reputation amidst reports of internal
corruption, mismanagement and allegations of covering up for
pedophile priests in other parts of the world.
O'Brien was to be Britain's only representative in the
upcoming conclave
He had been planning to retire after the selection of the
new pope.
As well, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, the head of
the Irish Church, Cardinal Sean Brady, former Los Angeles
archbishop Cardinal Roger Mahony and Cardinal Godfried Danneels
of Belgium have all faced calls not to attend over the sex-abuse
scandals that date back decades and have rocked the Catholic
It is one of several scandals plaguing the Church during
the sensitive transition period.
The Vatican announced Monday that Benedict will reveal the
full results of an investigation into the Vatican leaks scandal
"solely to the new pontiff", but parts of it will be disclosed
to members of the conclave to elect his successor.
The announcements came after Benedict met Monday with the
three-cardinal commission that investigated the so-called
Vatileaks affair, which reached its peak last year when the
pope's butler was found guilty and eventually pardoned for
photocopying sensitive Church documents and sharing them with
Italian media.
Since Benedict announced earlier this month that he would
step down February 28, unsourced reports in the Italian press
have alleged that the 300-page dossier on the scandal was the
final straw that triggered Benedict's decision to break from
tradition and abdicate from an otherwise lifetime position.
In a statement, the Vatican said Monday that Benedict had
"decided that the results of the investigation, of which only
His Holiness is aware, will remain at the sole disposition of
the new pontiff".
Shortly thereafter, Vatican Spokesman Federico Lombardi
said that some members of the conclave to elect the next pope
will have foreknowledge of those results, specifying that the
three-cardinal commission "will know to what extent they can and
must" share information that is "useful to evaluate the
situation and to select a new pope" before the conclave.
The authors of the report are Cardinal Julian Herranz from
Spain, former archbishop of Palermo Cardinal Salvatore De
Giorgi, and Cardinal Jozef Tomko from Slovakia

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