Habemus Datam – Conclave Starts Tuesday, March 12.


While the governing meetings – which have been attempting to shape the desired “profile” of the next Pope – will continue at least into tomorrow, the appointed day for the voting will begin with the Mass Pro Eligendo Pontifice (for the Election of the Roman Pontiff) concelebrated by all the cardinals at midmorning in St Peter’s Basilica.

Then, late Tuesday afternoon, the electors will gather in the Pauline Chapel, processing from there into the Sistina as the Litany of the Saints is chanted.

Read more from Rocco Palmo

Illustration submitted by Frank V.

Conclave 101: How a pope is elected

The written rules for the conclave, which have developed in reaction to the problems — political and moral — that have arisen throughout history, are “rigid and highly formal,” the bishop said.

For example, he said, Pope Paul VI’s rules excluded cardinals who were 80 years old or older on the day the conclave began. Blessed John Paul changed the rule to 80 years on the day the papacy became vacant. The change ensured cardinals did not choose a conclave start date specifically to include or exclude a cardinal close to the age of 80.

Under current rules, only cardinals who are under the age of 80 Feb. 28, the last day of Pope Benedict’s pontificate — can vote in the conclave. There were 117 cardinals eligible, but Feb. 21 Indonesian Cardinal Julius Darmaatmadja, the 78-year-old retired archbishop of Jakarta, announced he would not travel to Rome because of his health.


Sunday, 15 May, 2011: Mass in the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite was celebrated in the Vatican basilica.

Sunday’s historic Solemn Pontifical Mass at the altar of the Chair in St. Peter’s Basilica with the participation of no less than four Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church is also being reported in the 16/17 May edition of the Osservatore Romano, the “semi-official” newspaper of the Holy See. On p. 6 is the following article (NLM translation) including a photograph:

Details and photos

Pope names 24 new Cardinals

Here, the biglietto, in order:

  • Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints;
  • Antonio Naguib, patriarch of Alexandria of the Copts,
  • Robert Sarah, president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum,
  • Francesco Monterisi, archpriest of St Paul’s Outside the Walls,
  • Fortunato Baldelli, major penitentiary of the Roman church,
  • Raymond Burke, prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura,
  • Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
  • Paolo Sardi, pro-Patron of the Order of Malta,
  • Mauro Piacenza, prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy
  • Velasio DePaolis CS, prefect for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See (& papal delegate to the Legionaries of Christ)
  • Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture
  • Medardo Joseph Mazombwe, archbishop-emeritus of Lusaka (Zambia)
  • Raul Eduardo Vela Chiliboga, archbishop-emeritus of Quito (Ecuador)
  • Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, archbishop of Kinshasa
  • Paolo Romeo, archbishop of Palermo
  • Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington
  • Raymundo Damasceno Assis, archbishop of Aparecida
  • Kazmierz Nycz, archbishop of Warsaw
  • Malcolm Ranjith, archbishop of Colombo
  • Reinhard Marx, archbishop of Munich and Freising

…and the over 80s:

  • Archbishop Jose Manuel Estepa Llaurens, Military Ordinary-emeritus of Spain
  • Bishop Elio Sgreccia, president-emeritus of the Pontifical Academy for Life
  • Msgr Walter Brandmuller, president-emeritus of the Pontifical Commission for Historical Sciences
  • Msgr Domenico Bartolucci, director-emeritus of the Sistine Choir


Interesting facts about Cardinals

A malicious storm is being stirred up over the Pope’s alleged failure to deal with abusive priests, says Damian Thompson.

When he was the Vatican’s chief doctrinal enforcer, Cardinal Ratzinger defended and enforced this legitimate secrecy. In 2001, he demanded to be sent bishops’ files on accused clergy, because he did not believe the cases were being handled with sufficient rigour. He cited a 1962 document which stressed the need for confidentiality. But – and this point is crucial – Ratzinger used his new jurisdiction to act far more harshly against sex abusers than had their useless local bishops. From that point forward, writes John Allen, an American Catholic journalist, “he and his staff seemed driven by a convert’s zeal to clean up the mess”.

What are non-Catholics to make of all this? I’d argue that, like Catholics, they need to resist sweeping conclusions and try to reconcile two truths. The first is that many Catholic bishops, especially in Ireland and America, betrayed children, families and their own good priests by covering up for abusers. The crimes may have reached their peak as long ago as the 1970s, but the culture that enveloped them has yet to be fully dismantled.

The second is that secularists who despise Catholicism are manipulating tragedies to marginalise Catholics and blacken the name of a Pope, Benedict XVI, who has done far more than his predecessor to root out what he calls the “filth” of sexual abuse. Unfortunately for the Pope, his enemies inside the Church, who include members of the College of Cardinals, are happy for him to take the rap. Ratzinger was never “one of the boys”, the “magic circle” of bishops who covered for each other, and now he is paying for it. Expect some judicious leaking of scandals to sympathetic journalists just in time for his visit.

Ultimately, only the Pope himself can resolve the tension between guilt and innocence, and he needs to act fast. The “Rottweiler” nickname was always misleading, given his personal gentleness, but it would be no bad thing if he launched a ferocious attack on sexual predators and their hand-wringing accomplices in the higher ranks of the clergy.

Read more

What We Have Lost: 5-Part Video Series On the Post-Vatican II Catholic Church

Five Part Video Series that’s well worth watching:

From rugs to riches: Vatican storage, repair department has it all


By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — When 30,000 chairs have to be set up in St. Peter’s Square for an outdoor Mass, when a new bishop comes to town and needs to furnish an empty Vatican apartment, when a chair needs reupholstering, new drapes must be sewn or a bare office wall could use a piece of artwork … who’re you going to call? The “Floreria.”

The Vatican’s Floreria is part storeroom, part moving company, part repair shop and part busy beehive where skilled workers diligently maintain and handle all the furnishings and many other objects belonging to Vatican City State.

Read the article