Giovedì, 18 Ottobre 2018
VATICAN CITY

Pope changes rules to bring conclave forward

English
© ANSA

Vatican City, February 25 - The conclave of
cardinals to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI could begin
as early as next week, Vatican officials said Monday.
They spoke after Benedict issued a decree opening the rules
of the conclave to allow an earlier election process than is
normal.
The cardinals comprising the conclave will set the
timetable, and will likely formally decide on when to begin
their voting process by the end of this week, said Father
Federico Lombardi, head of the Vatican's press office.
"We cannot anticipate the date of the conclave, but it is
likely a formal decision will come in the first few days of
March," he said.
Normally, conclaves cannot begin until at least 15 days
after a papacy's end, a rule developed because popes almost
always die in office.
However, because Benedict announced on February 11 that he
would retire on February 28, he ruled Monday that such notice
has given cardinals from around the world enough time reach Rome
for the crucial vote.
"The cardinals will be permitted to bring forward the start
of the conclave, if they are all present," says the papal
decree, called 'motu proprio' in Latin.
Benedict becomes the first pope in almost 600 years to
abdicate, stepping down on Thursday at 20:00 Italian time (19:00
GMT.)
A Vatican official noted that the pope did not set a new
timetable for cardinals but instead, opened up their options.
"The pope did not impose a shorter time (before conclave)
and the cardinals may need more time to discuss," the issue,
explained Monsignor Pier Luigi Celata, vice-chamberlain.
Cardinals will have a lot to discuss when they gather in
Rome for conclave.
A major concern has been the string of recent scandals
striking cardinals in major cities and threatening confidence in
the Church.
On Monday, scandal-struck Scottish Cardinal Keith O'Brien
confirmed his immediate resignation and said he would not attend
conclave.
He is facing allegations from other priests of
inappropriate behaviour.
As well, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, the head of
the Irish Church, Cardinal Sean Brady, and former Los Angeles
archbishop Cardinal Roger Mahony have all faced calls not to
attend over the sex abuse scandals that date back decades and
have rocked the Catholic Church,

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