With Benedict XVI having entered into his life of prayer and meditation as “Roman pontiff emeritus”, the Holy See moved into conclave mode yesterday when the dean of the college of cardinals, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, summoned the cardinals to Rome.
The cardinals will meet in the Vatican’s Synod Hall at 9.30am on Monday for the first of their “general congregations”. These meetings represent a “state of the union” moment for the Catholic Church at which the cardinals will establish the date of the conclave to elect a successor to Benedict and also discuss issues and challenges faced by the church.
At a briefing yesterday, however, Holy See spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi warned against expecting any immediate announcement of the date, saying the decision will almost certainly come later in the week.
If the cardinals opt to anticipate the conclave, the most likely starting dates are March 10th or 11th.
I haven't written for a while now, so this story is sort of old news as I am writing it. But oh well it's important news, so it doesn't hurt to hear it twice.
Yesterday (28th February) at 7pm English time or 8pm Rome time, Pope Benedict XVI officially resigned. His last words to the faithful crowds were simply "Thank You and Good Night". Simple words from a man that will now live, as he himself said,"I am no longer the pope but I am still in the church. I'm just a pilgrim who is starting the last part of his pilgrimage on this earth,". Wise words from a wise man. Pope Benedict XVI will now be the Pope Emeritus. He will be entitled to be called 'His Holiness' still but all the other 'gifts' that come with the papacy will no longer be his. This may well be the last we here of Pope Benedict XVI. May God Bless him in his future and may he live happily for the rest of his days.