Vatican City, 1 March 2013 (VIS) – The director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., related some information regarding the Sede Vacante and the first hours of Benedict XVI after having left the pontificate in a press conference this afternoon.
Fr. Lombardi spoke this morning with Benedict XVI's personal secretary, Archbishop Georg Ganswein, prefect of the Papal Household, who told him that, yesterday, His Holiness, who was very calm and serene, had watched several news programs and expressed his appreciation for the work of the journalists as well as for the participation of those who had assisted in his departure from the Vatican and his arrival at Castel Gandolfo. After a brief walk through the Apostolic Palace he went to bed and slept very well.
Today, as always, His Holiness celebrated Mass at 7:00am and then prayed the Liturgy of the Hours. In the afternoon he has another walk planned at 4:00pm, through the gardens of the Castel Gandolfo Apostolic Palace, to pray the rosary. Benedict XVI brought with him various books on theology, history, and spirituality. At the moment he is reading from a book by the Swiss theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar.
Yesterday at 8:00, Archbishop Giovanni Angelo Becciu, substitute of the Secretariat of State sent a letter to all the diplomatic representatives to the Holy See informing them that, during the period of the Sede Vacante, all matters will be dealt with by the substitute and by the dean of the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Angelo Sodano.
Moreover, this morning, the papal apartments in St. John Lateran were sealed.