Today, preparations for the election of a successor to Pope Benedict XVI. continued, but still no date announced for the conclave.
Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi reported after the fourth meeting before the Conclave, that 153 Cardinals were present on Wednesday, 113 of them under the age of 80 and thus eligible to vote. Yet, the last two papal electors are to arrive in Rome until Thursday. These are Polish Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz and the Vietnamese Cardinal Jean-Baptiste Pham Minh Man. On Thursday, two General Gongregations are held in the morning and in the afternoon.
Climate “very fraternal”
The climate at the meeting on Wednesday was very fraternal, Lombardi told the press. The Dean of the College of Cardinals, Angelo Sodano, congratulated some Cardinals, who celebrate their birthday these days. Among them is also the German Cardinal Walter Kasper, who will celebrate his 80. birthday on Monday.
The consultations took place behind closed doors in the Synod Hall and were headed by Dean of Cardinals Sodano. Applicable duties of the Church were treated in the General Congregation. 18 Cardinals came forward to speak on Wednesday, and so far there were 51 speeches of Cardinals since the beginning of the General Congregations on Monday. Topics included the need for a new evangelization, the relations between the Vatican and the episcopates of the individual countries, as well as the profile of the new Pope, Lombardi reported.
No General Audience
On Wednesday afternoon, the Cardinals celebrated a Holy Mass led by Cardinal Angelo Sodano in St. Peter’s Church, in which they asked for the support of the Holy Ghost in regards of the Conclave. Due to the Sede Vacante, there was no General Audience on Wednesday.