BY SCO Admin | March 12 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Conclave about to begin but cardinals electors do not have to vote tonight

The cardinal electors are being sworn in at the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican but they are under no obligation to vote tonight

The next leader of the Catholic Church will be among the 115 cardinals who, this afternoon, have made their way in to the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel this afternoon (above and below) and are being sworn in.

The first vote in the Papal conclave, which was prompted by Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation last month, is due to take place at 7pm (UK time) this evening but Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi reiterated this afternoon that the cardinal electors do not have to vote tonight, saying that it is ‘up to them.’

A Mass ahead of the beginning of the conclave was celebrated at St Peter’s Basilica this morning.

Italian Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, presided at the Mass, at which the cardinal electors, as well as those cardinals over the age of 80 (and thus unable to vote in the conclave) concelebrated.

The celebration was open to all the Faithful who wished to attend as well as members of the diplomatic corps of the 179 countries with which the Holy See maintains ties.

Speaking in his homily, Cardinal Sodano asked the cardinal electors to work together to contribute to the unity of the Church. He also spoke of the importance of charity, asking the cardinals to ‘ceaselessly work to promote Justice and Peace.’

At 2.45pm, following lunch, the cardinal electors made their way from the Apostolic Palace to the Sistine Chapel.

In their procession, they sang Veni Creator Spiritus, invoking the assistance of the Holy Spirit.

Prior to the conclave beginning, the cardinal electors took an oath in which they promised to maintain the secrecy of the proceedings.

Following the oath, Mgr Guido Marini , the Master of Ceremonies pronounces the phrase Extra omnes, ‘all those not taking part leave the chapel,’ its doors are shut, and the conclave begins.

Earlier today Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York predicted a new Pope would be elected by Thursday.


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