Sunday, March 3, 2013

Conclave to start on 11 March

Vatican City, - In eight days cardinals will enter the Sistine Chapel for the start of the Conclave. This is the Church’s first Sunday without a Pope and there is no Angelus prayer today

The window from which the Pope usually pronounces the Sunday Angelus prayer remained shut today. This is the Catholic Church’s first Sunday without a Pope. St. Peter’s Square is full of pilgrims but no one is looking up at the papal studio window because this Sunday no one will be appearing at it. The curtain has already come down on the great media circus surrounding the Conclave and the rosaries recited by faithful are the only thing that breaks the silence which fell after Benedict XVI’s departure. Now that the papacy is vacant, there is no longer any reference to Benedict XVI either as Pope or Bishop of Rome in the Eucharistic prayer during mass celebrations. Parish priests have prepared a new version of the prayer.

As the Church strides towards the Conclave which is due to start on 11 March, the complete picture of Benedict XVI’s resignation is gradually forming. Ratzinger showed no less courage in resigning because “of the limits of old age and (…) the discernment on the exercise of responsibility that God had entrusted to him, than John Paul II who stuck it out until the end, despite his illness. Ratzinger’s decision is above all a reminder of one’s responsibilities, especially for cardinals who have the task of electing the Pope’s successor.

On the Church’s second day without a Pope – day two of the sede vacante period – Fr. Federico Lombardi commented on the achievements of the outgoing pope, now Pope Emeritus, and their significance, also for those who will have to work with the choices that will shape the future of global Catholicism. To emphasise the spiritual nature of the papal election, the Vatican spokesman referred back to one of Wojtyla’s core texts with a preface signed by Joseph Ratzinger.


Vatican Insider

Giacomo Galeazzi