Giovedì, 18 Ottobre 2018
VATICAN CITY

Still 'no rush' after day three of pre-conclave talks

English
© ANSA

(By Christopher Livesay)

Vatican City, March 6 - The college of cardinals is
in "no rush" to set a date for the conclave to elect a successor
to Benedict XVI, Vatican Spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said
Wednesday.
Lombardi said all the cardinal electors, including the final
one from Vietnam who will arrive by Thursday, were aware of the
need for 'an adequate, serious, in-depth and unhurried
preparation' for the secret gathering in the Sistine Chapel.
"So far it has not appeared opportune to put the conclave
date to a vote," Lombardi added.
Vatican watchers had thought March 11 likely for the start
of the conclave but that now looks "optimistic", they said
Wednesday.
The new pope was expected to be elected before the weekend
of March 16-17 but many now think Sunday March 17 could be the
day.
Cardinals are currently assembling in Rome at the 'general
congregations', a series of pre-conclave meetings of cardinals
at the Vatican, which 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.
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.
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.
The 115th cardinal, Jean Baptiste Pahm Minh Man of Vietnam,
was due to arrive Thursday.
During the general congregations, a number of cardinals had
been open to interviews, especially those from the United
States, who held two press conferences this week.
But after cancelling a third press conference at the last
minute Wednesday, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops
announced they will no longer do interviews due to concerns of
'leaks'.
"Concern was expressed in the general congregation about
leaks of confidential proceedings reported in Italian
newspapers," said spokeswoman Sister Mary Ann Walsh. "As a
precaution, the cardinals have agreed not to do interviews".
Cardinals Francis George of Chicago and Theodore McCarrick,
retired archbishop of Washington, had been scheduled to speak
Wednesday.

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