Martedì, 16 Ottobre 2018
VATICAN CITY

Hopes high for conclave date, all electors present

English
© ANSA

Vatican City, March 8 - Hopes are high that a date
for the conclave to elect the next pope will be announced on
Friday as the "general congregations" enter their fifth day.
All 115 cardinal electors are now in Rome after the last
one, Jean Baptiste Pahm Minh Man of Vietnam, arrived on
Thursday.
The cardinals meeting at the pre-conclave congregations
have so far been in no rush to set a date for the election of
Benedict XVI's successor.
Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said the
cardinals wanted to make sure they were properly prepared before
making a decision that will shape the future of the Catholic
Church under Michelangelo's famous frescoes in the Sistine
Chapel.
Vatican watchers had thought March 11 likely for the start
of the conclave but that is starting looks "optimistic", some
have said.
Nevertheless, the work on preparing the Sistine Chapel for
the conclave is progressing well.
Journalists were shown a film of the preparation work at a
press conference on Thursday.
It featured workers blacking out the windows to the ancient
chapel to ensure secrecy and the installation of the chimney
stack through which the world will first come to know when a
Pope has been elected, with white smoke coming out if one has,
black if not.
The "general congregations" enable the cardinals to get to
know each other better and share ideas about what
characteristics the next leader of the Catholic Church should
have.
Over 150 cardinals are taking part in the congregations,
but only 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.
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 last week 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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