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Pope to advance conclave? February 21, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, episcopate, General Catholic, Papa, sadness, Society.

It is being reported by the hit or miss Andrea Tornielli of La Stampa that the Holy Father is planning to change the rules regarding when a Papal conclave must be held after a Pope departs his office. The current rule says the conclave must start no sooner than 15 days after the Holy See becomes vacant. I don’t know if this has been confirmed by the Holy See yet, but here is the report:

Pope Benedict XVI will change the rules governing a papal conclave to allow an earlier election of his successor, according to Andrea Tornielli of La Stampa. The Vatican has confirmed that the Pontiff is considering such an amendment.

Tornielli reports that Pope Benedict will issue a motu proprio before his resignation takes effect on February 28, amending Universi Dominci Gregis, the document that sets the rules for a papal conclave. That document currently stipulates that when the Holy See becomes vacant, 15 days must pass before the conclave begins. The Pope will allow the cardinals to change that rule at their discretion, Tornielli says.

Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, confirmed that the Pope is considering a change in the conclave rules, but said that no final decision has been made. “I don’t know if he will deem it necessary or appropriate,” the Vatican spokesman said.

The requirement for a 15-day waiting period was instituted in order to allow time for cardinals to reach Rome after learning of a Pontiff’s death. Since Pope Benedict announced his plan to step down, the world’s cardinals have already had ample time to make their travel plans, and some Church leaders have suggested that an earlier conclave would be beneficial, ensuring that a new Pope would be in place by Holy Week…….

……..Pope Benedict has already made one change in the rules, Tornielli notes. Universi Dominci Gregis, promulgated by Pope John Paul II, allowed for the possibility that a new Pope could be elected by a bare majority of the cardinal-electors under some circumstances. Pope Benedict eliminated that possibility, restoring the requirement for a two-thirds majority.

Interesting. If the conclave had been badly split, it could have resulted in the selection of the next Pope running uncomfortably close to Easter. But, I wonder, will this change apply only to this conclave, or will it be a universal change, if one occurs at all?  In the Middle Ages, there were problems sometimes with Cardinals not being in any particular hurry to select a new Pope due to factionalism and other things.  I thought there was also an outer limit for when the conclave had to begin, to prevent that kind of thing recurring?

This whole resigcation leaves me just rather sad.  I don’t see any great positives in it.

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