We May Have a New Pope Sooner Than We Thought

As usual, Deacon Greg Kandra has the story.

The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, in one of his last acts as Supreme Pontiff, has modified the rules to allow for an earlier conclave. Since most of the cardinals will be in Rome this week for his last day as Pope, many people hope that the conclave will begin then.

This change does not require an earlier conclave. It simply opens the way if the cardinals decide they want to have one. The decision itself is in the hands of the College of Cardinals.

Whatever they decide, the next few days will be historic for the Church. Our pope has resigned and we will say good-bye to our years under his care. He will retire to what he has described as a life of prayer for the Church.

And we will await a new pope.

I intend to pray this week. I am going to pray a lot. I will pray for good Pope Benedict as he, in his own words, “climbs the mountain” to what his future will bring. I will pray that the Holy Spirit moves the College of Cardinals to give us a strong, faithful and holy pope who can lead the Church through the challenges ahead of us.

I ask you to join me in these prayers in hope for our future and in gratitude to Pope Benedict XVI for his faithful service to Our Lord, and to us.

The CNS story describing the pope’s rule change says in part:

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — In his last week as pontiff, Pope Benedict XVI issued new rules for conclaves, including a clause that allows the College of Cardinals to move up the date for the beginning of the conclave to elect his successor.

However, the cardinals cannot set the date until after the pope leaves office Feb. 28.

Pope Benedict also defined the exact penalty — automatic excommunication — that would be incurred by any noncardinal assisting the College of Cardinals who failed to maintain absolute secrecy about the conclave proceedings.

The pope laid out the new rules in an apostolic letter issued “motu proprio” (on his own initiative) Feb. 22, the feast of the Chair of St. Peter. The Vatican released the document Feb. 25.

The changes affect the rules established in Blessed John Paul II’s apostolic constitution governing the election of popes, “Universi Dominici Gregis.”

Under the current rules, which remain in effect, upon the vacancy of the papacy, cardinals in Rome “must wait 15 full days for those who are absent” before they can enter into a conclave and begin the process of electing a new pope.

However, Pope Benedict inserted an additional provision that grants the College of Cardinals “the faculty to move up the start of the conclave if all the cardinal-electors are present,” as well as giving them the ability “to delay, if there are serious reasons, the beginning of the election for a few more days.” (Read the rest here.)

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  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    That’s good. The uncertainty is killing me. I hate periods of instability.

    LOL, maybe that’s why I hate the Obama government so much! It’s been non-stop instability for over four years.

    • Bill S

      The only instability I see in the Obama government is the economy. Other than that, and even including that, the last four years were no less stable than the preceding eight.

      • Theodore Seeber

        Every President in my lifetime has been worse than the one who preceded him. I do not expect that trend to stop with Obama by any means. (and 6 years ago, I was writing the same sentence with Bush’s name in it).

        • Bill S

          What about from Nixon to Carter to Reagan?

  • pagansister

    Sooner the better. The new man will need to get a huge vacuum and start cleaning up the mess that seems to be on the carpet everywhere.

  • Peg

    I’ll join you in prayer Rebecca. He’s been a wise and holy leader and will be greatly missed!

  • Oregon Catholic

    “I ask you to join me in these prayers in hope for our future and in gratitude to Pope Benedict XVI for his faithful service to Our Lord, and to us.”

    Rebecca, this is a sincere question. How do you reconcile your respect and gratitude for Pope Benedict with what you wrote in Christian Persecution: Are We the ‘New Jews’? I guess I’m asking why or how you can assume he isn’t part of the very problem you talked about. After all, he has been in the upper echelon in Rome for decades as all this was happening.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      I don’t understand what you’re saying. Could you try asking this again?

      • Oregon Catholic

        I’m just not able at this point to assume Benedict, or anyone else in the Curia, is innocent of promoting the cover-ups and tolerating the corruption that has so egregiously harmed our Church. I’m wondering how you are able to separate him from the mess at the Vatican and within the hierarchy given his many years therein, which I am assuming you do since you are able to express gratitude for his faithful service?

        • Bill S

          Archbishop Cardinal Sean O’Malley cleaned up the mess left behind by Bernard Law in Boston. He is only recently elevated to Cardinal and is not part of any political machine. He would be the perfect outsider to clean house. If there ever would be a Pope that I would support, it will be him.