Lunedì, 22 Ottobre 2018
VATICAN CITY

Pre-conclave meetings enter third day

English
© ANSA

Vatican City, March 5 - The "general
congregations", a series of pre-conclave meetings of cardinals
at the Vatican, entered their third day on Wednesday.
The meetings enable the cardinals to get to know each other
better, share ideas about what characteristics the next leader
of the Catholic Church should have and establish a date for the
conclave to elect the successor of Benedict XVI, who stepped
down last week.
Over 140 cardinals are taking part in the congregations,
but fewer, 115, will participate in the conclave because only
those under 80 are eligible to vote.
There had been speculation that the cardinals would want to
move quickly in order to have a new pontiff installed before
Palm Sunday, March 24, so he could preside over the Holy Week
ceremonies that lead up to Easter.
But Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said Tuesday
that the cardinals gathered in Rome are in "no rush" to set a
date for the conclave.
Lombardi said it was significant that the cardinals opted
not to hold afternoon sessions Tuesday and Wednesday, after
holding two sessions on Monday, as it suggests they intend to
take their time.
The spokesman, one of the non-cardinals present during the
congregations, said he sensed that the cardinals wanted to
"understand how long is needed to properly prepare for such an
important event without hurrying things in any way".
Benedict changed the rules for the conclave in his final
days as pontiff to make it possible for it to be held before the
15-20 days after the end of the previous papacy, given that he
had stepped down, not died, and there was no funeral to
organise.
Many experts have said Monday March 11 is a possible
starting date for the conclave.
Hong Kong bishop John Tong Hon, one of the last cardinal
electors set to come to Rome for the conclave, arrived in the
Italian capital early on Wednesday.

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