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Monday, March 11, 2013


Vatican City, 11 March 2013 (VIS) – In this morning's 10th and final General Congregation 152 Cardinals were in attendance. Three new members for the Particular Congregation were picked by lot to assist the Cardinal Camerlengo for the next three days in the lesser affairs of the proceedings. The Cardinal assistants chosen were: from the Order of Bishops, Cardinal Antonios Naguib, patriarch emeritus of Alexandria, Egypt; from the Order of Priests, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops; and from the Order of Deacons, Cardinal Francesco Monterisi, archpriest emeritus of the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside-the-Walls.

Twenty-eight cardinals spoke today,” Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., director of the Holy See Press Office reported, “bringing the total number of interventions given during the course of the 10 General Congregations to 161. There was a wide participation, even if some other cardinals would have liked to participate or to speak again. It was, however, decided not to have another Congregation this afternoon in light of the move to the Domus Sanctae Marthae and the preparations for the Conclave.”

This morning, among other topics, the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR) was discussed. “Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, as president of the Commission of Cardinals for oversight of the IOR, presented the current operations of that commission to those present along with the process for adopting the norms of transparency that it has established. Naturally, much was also said about the expectations and hopes for the future Holy Father.”

Fr. Lombardi then provided some information about events that will take place in the next few days.

Around 90 auxiliary personnel will take the oath of secrecy this afternoon at 5:30pm in the Pauline Chapel. The Cardinal Camerlengo will receive the oaths of these persons who will assist in meeting the personal and official needs connected with the election process. (We provide a list of those involved in a separate article below.)

The “pro eligendo Romano Pontifice” Mass will be celebrated in the Vatican Basilica tomorrow, 12 March, at 10:00am. The booklet for the Mass is available on the Vatican website under the section of the Office for Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff. The liturgy will be presided by Cardinal Dean Angelo Sodano and concelebrated by all the cardinals, including the non-voters. During the offertory, a motet (choral musical composition) by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina will be heard.

Beginning tomorrow, Vatican Television will have a camera fixed on the chimney of the Sistine Chapel to capture the images of the “fumate”.

On their seats in the Sistine Chapel, the Cardinal electors will find the Apostolic Constitution “Universi Dominici Gregis”, the “Ordo Rituum Conclavis” (Book of Rites of the Conclave), and a book of the Liturgy of the Hours.

The director of the Holy See Press Office also summarized the final acts of the Conclave as regulated by that text. “If a cardinal gets two-thirds of the vote—the required amount for an election—the Cardinal Dean of the assembly, in this case Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, asks 'Do you accept your canonical election as Supreme Pontiff?' After receiving the consent of the one elected he then asks, “By what name do you wish to be called?” Then the Master of Papal Liturgical Celebrations, acting as notary and having two masters of ceremonies as witnesses who are called in at that time, records the new Pope's acceptance and chosen name. He then proceeds to burn the ballots for the white “fumata” (smoke signalling the election). The new Pope then dresses in the “Room of Tears”—perhaps so-called because of the emotion of the moment. When he returns to the Chapel a Gospel passage connected to the Petrine ministry is read, a brief prayer is given, and the cardinals process, one-by-one to the new pontiff, congratulating him and promising their obedience. The Pope and the cardinals sing the Te Deum together.”

There is a new aspect to this Conclave,” Fr. Lombardi noted. “The Pope, before going to the balcony at the centre of St. Peter's Basilica, will stop at the Pauline Chapel to pray before the Blessed Sacraments for a few moments. Then he will go out onto the loggia and greet those gathered with the “Urbi et Orbe” blessing.

Regarding the opening Mass of the new pontificate, Fr. Lombardi explained that it does not have to be celebrated on Sunday, but could occur any day of the week.

Finally, he clarified that the Prefect of the Papal Household, Archbishop Georg Ganswein, the Pope emeritus' personal secretary, will attend the ceremony of the beginning of the Conclave, as foreseen by his defined duties.


Vatican City, 11 March 2013 (VIS) – Today, the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff announced that this afternoon at 5:30pm in the Pauline Chapel of the Apostolic Palace, the officers and assistants of the Conclave process will take the oath of secrecy.

All those involved in the care of the coming Conclave, both ecclesiastic and secular persons, have received prior approval from the Cardinal Camerlengo and the three Cardinal Assistants as established in No. 46 of the Apostolic Constitution “Universi Dominici Gregis”. The following will take the oath prescribed in No. 48 of that document:

- The Secretary of the College of Cardinals

- The master of the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff

- The masters of pontifical ceremonies

- The religious who supervise the pontifical sacristy

- The ecclesiastic chosen by the cardinal dean to help him in his duties

- The religious charged with hearing confessions in the various languages

- Doctors and nurses

- The personnel for preparing meals and cleaning

- Florist staff and technical service personnel (UDG, Nos. 5 and 51)

- Personnel responsible for transporting the Cardinal electors from the Domus Sanctae Marthae to the Apostolic Palace

- Elevator attendants at the Apostolic Palace

- The Colonel and a Major of the Corps of Pontifical Swiss Guards responsible for surveillance around the Sistine Chapel

- The Director of Security and Civil Protection Services with some assistants.

After having been instructed on the meaning of the oath, they will have to pronounce and personally sign the prescribed formula before Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B. Camerlengo of Holy Roman Church, and in the presence of two apostolic protonotaries.


Vatican City, 11 March 2013 (VIS) – The “logistics” of the procedures carried out in a Conclave are not established on the basis of personal opinion nor are they subject to passing fads or improvisation. The liturgical tradition—established after the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council—notes with great precision the norms and rites that are to be followed. These are found in the Book of Rites of the Conclave.

The first aspect that the book highlights is the importance of the Conclave, as it involves the election of the Roman Pontiff. Then, focusing on the Mass that precedes the Cardinal electors' entrance into Conclave, it dedicates an entire chapter to explaining the rites and rubrics of this Eucharistic celebration.

The Second Chapter describes the most significant moments of the ceremony of entry into Conclave, with the specific oath that the cardinals swear. The process of voting and the scrutiny of the votes is also subject to a precise order to be followed exactly as are the preceding and following rituals and the moment of the chosen cardinal's acceptance as Roman Pontiff and his proclamation.

The Book of the Rites of the Conclave ends, at the Fifth Chapter, with the solemn announcement of the election of the Pope and his first “Urbi et Orbi” blessing from the loggia of St. Peter's Basilica.

Always in accordance with the Apostolic Constitution “Universi Dominici Gregis” promulgated by John Paul II, Benedict XVI introduced a few new features to improve the procedure of the Conclave. For example, at the “pro eligendo Romano Pontifice” Mass held the morning of the day that the Cardinal electors enter into Conclave, all cardinals are expected to participate, not just the Cardinal electors.

Another new addition is where the Rite of Admission to the Conclave and the Oaths of Cardinals should take place. The Pauline Chapel has been established as the particular place prescribed for these two acts.

The regulations also state that, for this ceremony, the senior cardinal in the hierarchy—who currently is Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re—will preside over the celebration, which begins with the sign of the cross and the proclamation of the following words:

May the Lord, who guides our hearts in the love and patience of Christ, be with you all.”

After this brief prayer, Cardinal Re will invite all those gathered to begin the procession towards the Sistine Chapel, where the Conclave will take place, with these words:

Venerable Brothers, after having celebrated the divine mystery, we now enter into Conclave to elect the Roman Pontiff.
The entire Church, joined with us in prayer, constantly calls upon the grace of the Holy Spirit, to elect from among us a worthy Pastor of all of Christ's flock.
May the Lord direct our steps along the path of truth, so that, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Apostles Peter and Paul, and all the saints, we may always do that which is pleasing to him.”

After this prayer, the cardinals process into the Sistine Chapel following the minister bearing the cross, the choir, the masters of ceremony, the secretary of the College of Cardinals, and the prelate who will direct the meditation to the Cardinal electors. The procession is ended with a deacon, dressed in alb and stole, bearing the book of the Gospels, along with Cardinal Re and the Master of Ceremonies.

During the procession the cardinals will sing the Litany of Saints—a prayer that has eminent importance in celebrations of the Latin liturgy and that recalls saints of the West and the East—and the celebration concludes with the hymn “Veni Creator Spiritus” when they are are gathered in the Sistine Chapel.

A few names that are not customarily recited, but who represent the universal Church have been introduced in the canticle of the Litany of Saints. These include: the patriarchs and prophets Abraham, Moses, and Elijah; St. Maron of Lebanon; St. Frumencio of Ethiopia and Eritrea; St. Nina of Georgia; St. Gregory the Illuminator of Armenia; St. Patrick of Ireland; and other saints representing various lands such as martyrs of Canada, Uganda, Korea, and Oceania; St. Rose of Lima, Peru for South America; and some Popes, including St. Pius X.

The solemn oath taken by the cardinals inside the Sistine Chapel follows the formula established in the Apostolic Constitution “Universi Dominici Gregis”. After the recitation of the Common Form of the oath, each cardinal then lays his hand upon the Gospels, and individually pronounces the prescribed form of the oath.

When the last of the Cardinal electors has taken the oath, the Master of Ceremonies recites the traditional formula “Extra omnes” and all those not taking part in the Conclave must leave the Sistine Chapel.

Besides the Cardinal electors, the only others who will be present in the Sistine Chapel are the Master of Ceremonies and Cardinal Prospero Grech, O.S.A., who will preach the second meditation concerning the grave duty incumbent on them and thus on the need to act with right intention for the good of the Universal Church.

After that exhortation, Cardinal Re will propose to the College of Electors to begin with the first ballot of the Conclave.


Vatican City, 11 March 2013 (VIS) – Following is a brief chronology of Conclaves in recent centuries along with interesting facts that occurred during each.

In the entire history of the Church, the longest papal election—taking place in Viterbo, Italy in 1268 and ending with the election of Gregory X—lasted for two years. It was as a result of this instance that the modern incarnation of the papal Conclave was instituted.

In modern history, the longest Conclave was that of 1740, which ended with the election of Benedict XIV. It lasted from 18 February until 17 August, 181 days. Fifty-one cardinals participated in the final ballot, four cardinals having died during the proceedings.

In 1758, the Conclave that elected Clement XIII lasted from 15 May until 6 July, 53 days. Forty-five cardinals participated, but one was absent at the final ballot, having left the Conclave because of illness.

In 1769, Clement XIV was elected after 94 days, from 15 February until 19 May. Forty-six cardinals participated in the vote.

Beginning in 1774, the Conclave that elected Pius VI lasted 133 days, from 5 October of that year until 15 February 1775. Forty-six cardinals entered in the Conclave but two of them died during the proceedings.

The Conclave that elected Pius VII took place in Venice, since Rome was under occupation by Napoleon’s troops. It lasted from 1 December 1799 until 14 March 1800, 105 days. It was the last Conclave held outside of Rome and 34 cardinals participated.

In 1823, Leo XII was elected after 27 days, 2 September until 28 September, and 49 cardinals participated.

In 1829, the Conclave that elected Pius VIII lasted 36 days, 24 February until 31 March, and 50 cardinals participated.

At the Conclave that began in 1831, the last cardinal not to be bishop was elected Pope, Gregory XVI. The Conclave that elected him lasted 51 days, from 14 December 1830 until 2 February of the following year and 45 cardinals participated.

Short” Conclaves began to take place from 1846, with the election of Blessed Pius IX. Fifty cardinals elected him Pope in a conclave lasting three days, from 14 to 16 June of that year.

After the longest papal reign, which lasted more than thirty years, the following Conclave also lasted three days, from 18 to 20 February in 1878. Sixty-one cardinals participated in the vote to elect Leo XIII. It's interesting to note that, as his reign was the third longest in papal history, lasting over 25 years, only four of the cardinals that elected him participated in another Conclave. Another interesting fact from this Conclave is that the first American to be created cardinal, Cardinal John McCloskey, archbishop of New York, would have been the first non-European to take part in a papal election but he arrived too late to participate. That honour was to go to Cardinal James Gibbons, archbishop of Baltimore, Maryland at the next Conclave.

In 1903 St. Pius X was elected Pope by 64 cardinals in a Conclave that lasted five days, from 31 July until 4 August, and had 7 ballots. It was the last time that the “Jus Exclusivae” (“right of exclusion” or right to veto a candidate for the papacy claimed by the Catholic monarchs of Europe) was exercised. The Italian Cardinal Mariano Rampolla was vetoed by Franz Joseph I of Austria-Hungary. After his election, St. Pius X abolished the right of heads of state to exercise a veto.

In 1914, the Conclave that elected Benedict XV lasted four days, from 31 August until 3 September. The 57 participating cardinals had 10 ballots. Three North American Cardinals were locked out of the Sistine Chapel, having arrived too late to enter but it was the first time that a Latin American cardinal participated, Cardinal Joaquim Arcoverde de Albuquerque Cavalcanti, archbishop of Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

In 1922, during the Conclave that elected Pius XI, 53 cardinals held 7 ballots over five days, from 2 to 6 February. Two American and one Canadian cardinal were again left out of the Conclave for having arrived too late. After his election, Pius XI established a period of 15 days from the beginning of the Sede Vacante to entering into Conclave in order to allow cardinals enough time to travel to Rome.

In the 1939 Conclave that elected Pius XII, the first patriarch of an Eastern rite participated in the election: His Beatitude Mar Ignatius Gabriel I Tappouni, patriarch of Antioch and all the East of the Syrians. The Conclave, the shortest of the twentieth century, lasted just two days, from 1 to 2 March. The 62 cardinals held 3 ballots.

In the Conclave of 1958 that elected Blessed John XXIII, cardinals from China, India, and Africa participated for the first time. The Conclave lasted four days, from 25 to 28 October and the 51 cardinals held 11 ballots.

In 1963, the Conclave lasted three days, from 19 to 21 June. The 80 cardinals elected Paul VI after 11 ballots.

In 1978, the Conclave that elected John Paul I was the first in which cardinals over the age of 80 did not participate. The Conclave lasted two days, 25 to 26 August. The 111 Cardinal electors held four ballots.

In the second Conclave celebrated that year—the reign of John Paul I lasting just 33 days, resulting in the most recent “Year of Three Popes”—Blessed John Paul II was elected by the same 111 Cardinal electors after eight ballots held over three days 14 to 16 October.

In 2005, Benedict XVI was elected Pope in the fourth ballot of the Conclave that lasted two days, from 18 to 19 April. The largest number of Cardinal electors ever took part in that election: 115.

The Conclave that begins tomorrow morning, 12 March 2013, will be the first one since 1829 to be held during Lent. One hundred fifteen Cardinal electors will participate.
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