The Oath of Secrecy: Because You Can’t Be Too Careful

Sistine Chapel - stove

The media has been abuzz with news about the phone-jamming equipment being installed on the walls and under the raised flooring in the Sistine Chapel, which will ensure that one enthusiastic Cardinal doesn’t spoil the surprise for the world, when a new Pope is elected.But what about the other people who work inside the walls of Vatican City, and who may hear the Princes of the Church chatting over dinner, sharing a joke in the hallway at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, or whispering secrets in t … [Read more...]

Philatelist Alert: Vatican Issues Stamps for the Interregnum

Stamps - sede vacante

Stamp collectors will need to act quickly if they want to get their hands on these:  The Vatican has just issued a set of four stamps for use during the “Sede Vacante” (when the See is Vacant), that period between the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and the election of a new pope.The interregnum stamps, according to Vatican sources, include the symbol of the Vacant See, a striped umbrella (umbraculum) over crossed keys.  They can be used only until a new pope is elected in next month’s Concl … [Read more...]

How a Pope Is Elected

Habemus Papam at the Council of Constance

As Pope Benedict prepares to step down from the papacy on February 28, we look ahead to the Conclave which will determine who will lead the Church into the future.Vatican Insider, an on-line publication of the Italian daily newspaper La Stampa, has produced an excellent multimedia tutorial, showing us just how it’s done.  This may clear up some of the confusion which is likely in the interregnum, the period after February 28 when the Chair of Peter is vacant, and before the Cardinal Pr … [Read more...]