Lunedì, 24 Settembre 2018
VATICAN CITY

Cardinals start putting out feelers in pre-conclave talks

English
© ANSA

Vatican City, March 4 - The general congregation of
cardinals started Monday at the Vatican, kicking off talks on
the conclave to vote Benedict XVI's successor.
Daily meetings in which the princes of the Church get to
know one another and discuss issues facing Catholicism today
will be held throughout the week until the voting process for a
new pope begins inside the Sistine Chapel.
Of the 115 cardinals eligible to cast votes, 103 were in
Rome Monday.
According to Church rules, a conclave cannot commence until
all electors are present.
The election process comes after Benedict stepped down
after nearly eight years in office leading the world's 1.2
billion Roman Catholics.
He was the first pontiff to resign in 600 years.
Speaking before the general congregation began Monday, New
York Archbishop Timothy Michael Dolan said that the conclave to
elect a new pope will be brief and that cardinals 'will move
quickly'.
'Our work this week will be very important,' he added. 'I
want to speak with all of my fellow cardinals. I want to meet
all of them, I want to understand them better. Many of them I
only know from the books they've written'.
A date for the conclave has yet to be announced, though the
Church is expected to speed up the process in order to install a
pope in time for Holy Week later this month.
Dolan, considered a longshot candidate for pope, brushed
off the possibility of ascending the throne of St Peter himself.
'Certainly an important job awaits me, but in New York,' he
said.
On the other hand, German Cardinal Walter Kasper said
Monday he was opposed to rushing the conclave.
'We need time to get to know one another,' said Kasper,
president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Promoting
Christian Unity. 'A papal election is not something you should
rush'.
Regardless of when the election process begins, Cardinal
Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras believes that
transparency is needed in the next papacy and that Benedict's
'clean-up' initiatives must go forward.
'I am convinced that the clean-up initiatives of (former
Cardinal Joseph) Ratzinger have to continue because it is
written in the Gospels that the truth shall set you free,' said
Maradiaga, whom many have signalled as a possible candidate for
pope.
'We must present a Church with a transparent face, one that
is at peace and at ease'.
Leading up to Benedict's abdication, Benedict had
commissioned a 300-page, two-volume report on the so-called
Vatileaks scandal, in which his own butler was arrested then
pardoned for leaking secret Church documents of alleged
corruption to the Italian press.
Unsourced reports in Italian media in recent weeks have
said that the report's findings were a final straw for Benedict
to step down.
While many Church watchers are predicting a new pope from
the developing world, a senior Vatican figure said Monday that
some non-Italian cardinals have asked for an Italian pope.
'I have heard rumors from non-Italian cardinals that
express this wish. I would not put it as a priority, but it is a
possibility,' said Monsignor Claudio Maria Celli, president of
the Pontifical Council for Social Communications on the Italian
radio station RAI RadioUno.
Whoever the new pope may be, one possibility was ruled out
Monday when a fake bishop was unmasked after sneaking into the
general congregation.
The imposter's cassock was shorter than standard, the chain
on his crucifix was unusual, and his purple episcopal sash
turned out to be a scarf.
But he still managed to blend in for some time with the
more than 100 cardinals assembled from around the world outside
the Paul XVI Hall of the Vatican.
The phony, reportedly Australian, was eventually identified
and kicked out, to the visible amusement of journalists nearby.

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