BY Ian Dunn | February 20 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

15-POPE-WRITING

Holy Father may free conclave to begin early

Vatican spokesman gives strongest indication to date that process to choose the next Pope may not have to observe the standard 15 to 20 day waiting period designed to follow the death of a Pontiff

Pope Benedict XVI is considering issuing a Motu Proprio that will allow the conclave to replace him to begin as soon as he leaves office.

At a press conference today, the director of the Holy See press office, Fr Federico Lombardi, said Pope Benedict is considering the move in order to clarify specific points of the legislation governing the sede vacante period and the conclave to elect a new Pope. Any clarification would be made prior to the formal conclusion of the Pope Benedict’s ministry on February 28.

“I do not know, if it would be necessary or appropriate to make a clarification on the issue of the time of the conclave,” Fr Lombardi said. “We will have to see if and when a document is published.

“It seems to me, for example, the clarification of some details in order to be in complete agreement with another document regarding the conclave, that is, the Ordo Rituum Conclavis. In any case, the question depends on the Pope’s judgement and if this document comes about it will be made known through the proper channels.”

Under current rules the conclave should not start before 15 March to allow time for all cardinals to travel to the Vatican. However, Fr Lombardi first mentioned last week that it could start earlier and Church officials may prefer to have a successor named before the start of Holy Week on March 24.

—ian@sconews.co.uk

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