Domenica, 21 Ottobre 2018
VATICAN CITY

Cardinals set for busy day of pre-conclave talks

English
© ANSA

Vatican City, March 7 - Cardinals are set for a
busy day of meetings on Thursday, when the last of the 115
cardinal electors who will take part in the conclave to elect
the next pope should arrive.
The cardinals will take part in two "general congregations"
on Thursday, the fourth day of pre-conclave meetings, with
sessions in both the morning and the afternoon.
The senior clergymen opted not to hold afternoon sessions
Tuesday and Wednesday, which the Vatican said showed they were
determined not to rush their preparations for the conclave.
A date for the start of conclave has not yet been set but
this may be announced on Thursday, with an intense day of talks
planned and the last cardinal elector, Jean Baptiste Pahm Minh
Man of Vietnam, set to land.
Vatican watchers had thought March 11 likely for the start
of the conclave but that is starting looks "optimistic", some
have said, given that no date was set in the first three days of
meetings.
The "general congregations" 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 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.
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.
Benedict, 85, stepped down a week ago after announcing on
February 11 that he no longer had the mental and physical
strength to lead the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.

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