Cardinals meet on Monday
Since Thursday 8:00 p.m., the Catholic Church is unshepherded, after Pope Benedict XVI., who was actually appointed Pope for life, has resigned the office. The cardinals of the Catholic Church were officially invited on Friday, to gather in Rome for the preparations regarding the Conclave.
The letters have been sent by the Dean of the College of Cardinals, Angelo Sodano. Because many Cardinals are already gathered in the Vatican, they should meet on Monday at 9:30 at the Vatican in the new Synod Hall, to prepare for the election of the new Pope. A second meeting is to be held on the same day at 5:00 pm.
According to the Vatican, 115 Cardinals are expected to take part in the Conclave. However, it is still fairly vague when it will begin. There are speculations it might start on March 11, exactly four weeks after Benedict’s historic resignation announcement. By no later than 20 days after the resignation the conclave must start in any case, as required by the regulations. That would be the 20th of March.
Long “pre-Conclave” expected
Anyway, there will still no date for the Conclave be announced on Monday, so the Vatican spokesman, father Federico Lombardi. According to Lombardi, a decision concerning the Conclave will not be made on the first day. Officially, it will not be decided until all eligible Cardinals arrived in Rome.
Core task of the College of Cardinals, is the preparation for the election of the new Pope. Sodano invited 208 Cardinals to the General Congregations in the Apostolic Palace, which will take place every day until the beginning of the Conclave. All cardinals participating in the General Congregation, must swear an oath on the Gospel, to respect the regulations and to practice secrecy.