St. Teresa of Jesus and John of the Cross Community

St. Therese House of Prayer, Carmel of the Holy Spirit, Subic, Zambales

OCDS-Subic 2012

Members of the St. Teresa of Jesus and John of the Cross Community.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Vatican City, 6 March 2013 (VIS) - “At the fourth General Congregation, which began this morning at 9:00am with the prayer of the Liturgy of Hours, 153 cardinals were present. This number includes four additional cardinals who arrived and were sworn in today, three Cardinal electors: Cardinal Antonios Naguib, patriarch emeritus of Alexandria, Egypt; Cardinal Karl Lehmann, bishop of Mainz, Germany; Cardinal John Tong Hon, bishop of Hong Kong, China; as well as Cardinal Friedrich Wetter, archbishop emeritus of Munich, Germany who is not an elector,” said Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., director of the Holy See Press Office during his daily news conference with journalists.

To date, there are 113 Cardinal electors present. Tomorrow the two remaining Cardinal electors are expected—Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz, archbishop of Warsaw, Poland, will arrive this afternoon and Cardinal Jean-Baptiste Pham Minh Man, archbishop of Thanh-Pho Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam tomorrow morning.

“In the fraternal spirit that characterizes the Congregations,” Fr. Lombardi reported, “Cardinal Dean Angelo Sodano wished a happy birthday to Cardinal Walter Kasper (who turned 80 yesterday), Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio (who turns 75 today), and Cardinal Julio Terrazas Sandoval, C.SS.R., (who turns 77 tomorrow). Cardinal Kasper continues to be a Cardinal elector—he will be the oldest to cast his vote in this Conclave—because the Apostolic Constitution regulating the procedure for electing the pontiff establishes the age limit for cardinals entering the Conclave to be determined from the beginning of the period of the Sede Vacante.

This morning 18 cardinals addressed the gathering. Without going into details, the director of the Holy See Press office gave a general overview of their nature. “The major theme,” Fr. Lombardi said, “was the Church in the world, the New Evangelization. Other topics included the Holy See, its Dicasteries and relations with bishops. A third theme was a profile of expectations for the next pope in view of the good government of the Church.” 

“There have been 51 speeches since the beginning of the Congregations,” he added. Given the large number of cardinals wishing to address the gathering, a five minute time limit was established but is not strictly enforced. It was decided that tomorrow they will meet in a morning as well as an afternoon session.

Regarding the cancelling of the press conferences that some of the American cardinals were giving in these days, Fr. Lombardi observed that “the Congregations are not a synod or a congress in which we try to report the most information possible, but a path toward arriving at the decision of electing the Roman Pontiff. In this sense, the tradition of this path is one of reservation in order to safeguard the freedom of reflection on the part of each of the members of the College of Cardinals who has to make such an important decision. It does not surprise me, therefore, that along this path there were, at the beginning, moments of openness and communication and that afterwards, in harmony with the rest of the College, it has been established whether and how to communicate.”

Also brought up in the press conference was the date of the opening of the Conclave. “The College has a great spirit of preparation that is serious, profound, and unhurried,” Fr. Lombardi clarified. “Perhaps that is why it still did not seem opportune to take a vote on the date of the Conclave, which a large part of the College could sense as something forced in the dynamic of reflection. It also needs to be kept in mind that some cardinals are still arriving and it would be a sign of respect for them to wait until the College is complete.”

In conclusion, the director of the Holy See Press Office confirmed that “the Fisherman's Ring has been scratched over,” that is, rendered unusable. 


VIS - Vatican Information Service


Vatican City, 6 March 2013 (VIS) – This afternoon in St. Peter's Basilica, on the occasion of the General Congregations proceeding the Conclave, the College of Cardinals will pray for the Church.

The celebration, which will be held at 5:00pm at the Altar of the Cathedra, will begin with the recitation of the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary in Italian and Latin. Following the Rosary will be the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and a brief time for Adoration. Then simple recitation of Vespers (the Church's evening prayer) will be presided over by Cardinal Angelo Comastri, archpriest of St. Peter's Basilica. The rite will conclude with Eucharistic Benediction offered by Cardinal Comastri.

The prayer booklet for the celebration can be found online at the website of the Office for Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff:

The regularly scheduled mass at the Altar of the Cathedra will be moved to another altar in St. Peter's Basilica.


VIS - Vatican Information Service

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


Vatican City, 5 March 2013 (VIS) – On a tapestry hanging in the eponymous gallery of the Vatican Museums, we find one of the oldest witnesses of the chalice-urns that served to gather the ballots of the cardinals voting in the election of a new pontiff.

The tapestry relates an episode narrated in the chronicles of the election of Pope Urban VIII (1623-1644). In the final scrutiny, during the counting of the ballots, one ballot was missing. On the right-hand side of the tapestry, one can see a scrutineer who is looking inside a large chalice with attention and interest, as if to verify the presence of the lost ballot.

A chalice that is very similar to the one seen in the tapestry and a pyx (ciborium) are preserved in the pontifical sacristy of the Sistine Chapel. This chalice and pyx have been used to gather the voting ballots in the conclaves of the last century, up to the election of John Paul II.

With the promulgation of the Apostolic Constitution "Universi Dominici Gregis" concerning the period of Sede Vacante of the Apostolic See and the election of the Roman Pontiff (John Paul II, 22 February 1996), the need arose to adapt the urns to the new norms. It was necessary to add a new urn to the chalice and pyx called for in previous regulations, in order to receive the votes of any cardinals having the right to vote but who were impeded through illness from leaving their room to be present for the voting process in the Sistine Chapel. Rather than creating another urn, three new ones were designed during John Paul II's pontificate, principally to make them more functional for the intended use, but also to make them uniform.

The function of the urns is described in Chapter V of the Constitution, which also speaks of a plate to be placed on top of the first urn. Every cardinal, in fact, must "place his ballot on the plate, with which he drops it into the receptacle beneath." The second urn will be used only in the case of the presence in the Conclave of cardinals impeded by illness from leaving their rooms and the third urn will be used to gather the ballots after the scrutiny, before they are burned to produce the traditional smoke announcing to the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square either the non-election (black smoke) or the election (white smoke) of the new Pontiff.

The urns are the work of the Italian sculptor Cecco Bonanotte, already known for the new entrance doors of the Vatican Museums that were inaugurated on the occasion of the Jubilee Year 2000. They are made of silver and gilded bronze and their iconography is linked to two fundamental symbols: the first is that of the Good Shepherd and the second of charity. The symbols chosen by the artist for the three urns—a shepherd and his sheep along with more subtle birds, grapes, and ears of grain—are united in a simple and direct way to the meaning that the person of the Pope has in the Church: the shepherd, indeed the Good Shepherd who, in the name of Christ, has the duty of "confirming his brothers" (Luke 22:31) in the faith.

The symbolism of the Good Shepherd, however, also underlines the style of exercising this primacy, which is indissolubly linked to charity. This idea is clearly expressed in the Gospel of John (21:15-25) where "feeding" the flock is joined inseparably to loving care: "Simon of John, do you love me?..." Peter tells him: "Lord, you know everything, you know that I love you: "Feed my lambs." The relationship of love between Jesus and Peter, and as a consequence between the Pope and the Church, is emphasized in the other symbols used to decorate the urns: the birds, grapes, and the ears of grain. Eucharistic bread and wine, which are Christ, accentuate the idea of charity underlined by the sharing of this very bread and the chalice.


VIS - Vatican Information Service


Vatican City, 5 March 2013 (VIS) – Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., director of the Holy See Press Office, in this afternoon's press conference, gave updated information on the development of the General Congregations.

“On Monday afternoon from 5:00pm until 7:00pm,” he said, “the second General Congregation of the College of Cardinals took place, during which Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM Cap., preacher of the Pontifical Household, gave the first of the meditations provided for by the Apostolic Constitution.”

“Additionally, a further five Cardinal electors who had arrived in Rome swore the oath: Cardinal Bechara Boutros Rai, O.M.M., patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites, Lebanon; Cardinal Joachim Meisner, archbishop of Cologne, Germany; Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, archbishop of Berlin, Germany; Cardinal Théodore-Adrien Sarr, archbishop of Dakar, Senegal; and Cardinal Dominik Jaroslav Duka, O.P., archbishop of Prague, Czech Republic.”

The cardinals are free to address the gathering, having only to sign up and then presenting in the order that they have signed in. Nine cardinals spoke and it was also decided that, on Tuesday and Wednesday, the Congregations will only be held in the morning.

Referring to the third Congregation that took place this morning from 9:30am until 12:40pm, Fr. Lombardi reported that two Cardinal electors—Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, archbishop of Madrid and Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Catholic Education—and five cardinals who are over the age of 80 arrived and swore the oath. In total there were 148 cardinals present.

There were 11 speeches given by cardinals representing each of the continents and the topics discussed were: activities of the Holy See and its relations with bishops throughout the world; Church renewal in light of Vatican Council II; the Church's position and the need for the New Evangelization in today's world with its diverse cultural environments. Number 37 of Benedict XVI's Motu Proprio concerning the beginning of the Conclave was presented to the prelates but no decision regarding its date was made.

There was also a proposal, endorsed by the Particular Congregation, to dedicate tomorrow afternoon to prayer in St. Peter's Basilica. The Cardinal Dean, Angelo Sodano, will lead the prayers. This initiative will also serve as an invitation to the entire Church to pray at this important moment. The ceremony is open to the public so any faithful who so desire may attend.

In conclusion, the text of a telegram for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, which was signed by Cardinal Dean Sodano, was approved. It reads: “To His Holiness, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Castel Gandolfo.”

“The Cardinal Fathers, gathered at the Vatican for the General Congregations in view of the next conclave, send you their devoted greetings and express their renewed gratitude for all your illustrious Petrine ministry and for your example of generous pastoral care for the good of the Church and of the world. With their gratitude they hope to represent the recognition of the entire Church for your tireless work in the vineyard of the Lord. In conclusion, the members of the College of Cardinals trust in your prayers for them, as well as for the whole Church.”

Fr. Lombardi reported that the preparations for the Conclave have begun in the Sistine Chapel so it is now closed to visitors. He also presented data on the media coverage of the events of the Holy See in these days: 4,432 temporarily accredited journalists have joined the 600 permanently accredited journalists. The more than 5,000 journalists represent 1,004 news outlets, 65 nations, and 24 languages.


VIS - Vatican Information Service

Monday, March 4, 2013


Vatican City, 4 March 2013 (VIS) – A student of the history of the Roman Curia, in particular the office called the Apostolic Camera, will find that, as early as the 11th century, the term "camera thesauraria" (treasure chamber) appeared, describing an office set up to administer the finances of the Roman Curia and the temporal goods of the Holy See. Today it performs the latter task only in the period of "sede vacante" or vacant see.

In the 12th century, the head of that office was known as the "camerarius," or camerlengo (chamberlain) - a title which carries over to today. That same century saw the former offices of viceroy, treasurer and wardrobe guardian incorporated into this single department. In the 13th and 14th centuries it acquired judicial functions in fiscal matters as well as certain penal and civil cases.

The camerlengo of Holy Roman Church (to be distinguished from the camerlengo of the College of Cardinals) was often a cardinal, but this became mandatory only in the 15th century. Then – as now – he was assisted by a vice-camerlengo, a general auditor and chamber clerks, called Cleric Prelates. Today there is also a notary.

In the early centuries the camerlengo, individual clerks, and chamber auditor had acquired specific competencies and presided over special tribunals, though the "camera plena" or full chamber functioned as a collegial court. Throughout the 19th century the Camera was above all a tribunal for the pontifical state. With his Apostolic Constitution "Sapienti Consilio" of 29 June 1908, Pope St. Pius X confirmed the Apostolic Camera in its functions of temporal power which it had exercised in the past.

Paul VI's Apostolic Constitution "Regimini Ecclesiae Universae" of 15 August 1967 preserved the Apostolic Camera, presided over by the Camerlengo of Holy Roman Church or, if he is impeded, by the vice-camerlengo. It thus maintains the function of caring for and administering the temporal goods and rights of the Holy See during the period of Sede Vacante, that is, between the end of the reign of one Pope and the election of his successor.

A reconfirmation of these special duties was given in John Paul II's Apostolic Constitution "Pastor Bonus" of 28 June 1988.

As confirmed by Pope John Paul II in the Apostolic Constitution "Universi Dominici Gregis" of February 1996, the camerlengo of Holy Roman Church and the penitentiary major are the only two heads of curial offices whose functions do not cease during the Sede Vacante. In fact, those of the camerlengo actually increase during this period.

The current camerlengo of Holy Roman Church is Cardinal Tarcisio Pietro Evasio Bertone, S.D.B. The cardinal was born on 2 December 1934 in Romano Canavese, Piedmont, Italy and was ordained in 1960. He holds a doctorate in canon law and was the rector of the Pontifical Salesian University in Rome in 1989. He received episcopal ordination as archbishop of Vercelli, Italy in 1991. In 1995 Blessed John Paul II appointed him secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, whose prefect at the time was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. In 2002 he was named metropolitan archbishop of Genoa, Italy and on 21 October 2003 he was created a cardinal. On 22 June 2006, Benedict XVI appointed him as secretary of State and on 4 April 2007, as camerlengo.

On 1 March 2013, the complete Apostolic Camera met for the beginning of the period of the Sede Vacante resulting from His Holiness Benedict XVI's renunciation of the Petrine ministry in effect from 8:00pm the previous day, 28 February. The Apostolic Camera currently consists of: Camerlengo Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B.; Vice-camerlengo Archbishop Pier Luigi Celata; Auditor General Bishop Giuseppe Sciacca; and the College of Clerics: Msgr. Assunto Scotti; Msgr. Paolo Luca Braida; Msgr. Philip James Whitmore; Msgr. Winfried Konig; Msgr. Osvaldo Neves de Almeida; Msgr. Krzysztof Jozef Nykiel; Msgr. Lucio Bonora, and; Msgr. Antonio Lazzaro.


VIS - Vatican Informatin Service


Vatican City, 4 March 2013 (VIS) – Early this afternoon Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., director of the Holy See Press Office, informed reporters on the proceedings of the first of the General Congregations of the College of Cardinals. The cardinals' meeting took place this morning at 9:30am in the Synod Hall, which is located above the Paul VI Audience Hall in the Vatican building created by the Italian architect Pier Luigi Nervi.

The Congregation was headed by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College, accompanied by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., camerlengo of the Apostolic Camera, and Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary of the Congregation for Bishops. The members of the College took their places following the hierarchical order of precedence: first those belonging to the order of Cardinal-bishops, then the Cardinal-priests, and finally the Cardinal-deacons. Each cardinal has an assigned seat to facilitate the process of voting.

After the opening prayer, “Veni Sancte Spiritus”, followed by the “Adsumus” prayer, Cardinal Sodano greeted those present in Italian, informing them of the procedures related to the Sede Vacante and how the Congregations, regulated by the Apostolic Constitution “Universi Dominici Gregis”, will operate. Following that, technical guidance on the use of microphones and the voting apparatuses was given. The proceedings are being simultaneously translated in five languages: Italian, French, German, Spanish, and English.

There were 142 of the total 207 cardinals present this morning; 103 of those present were Cardinal electors. Expected to arrive this afternoon and tomorrow, therefore, are 63 others including the remaining 12 Cardinal electors. This number—115 Cardinal electors—takes into account the two cardinals who have already indicated that they will not be attending: the archbishop emeritus of Jakarta, Indonesia and the archbishop emeritus of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, Scotland.

The gathered cardinals swore to keep secret the deliberations for the election of the future Pope, after which the Cardinal dean, Angleo Sodano, read the oath in Latin, everyone present reciting along with him. After that, each cardinal, according to their order of precedence came forward and took the oath before a Crucifix and with their hand on the Gospels. This process occupied a good portion of the meeting's time.

Three assistants to the camerlengo were also drawn by lot from the Cardinal electors of each of the orders. As established in No. 7 of “Universi Dominici Gregis”, these three will assist the Cardinal camerlengo for the first three days of the Congregations. Chosen were Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re from the order of bishops, Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe from the order of priests, and Cardinal Franc Rode from the order of deacons. After being chosen these three also took their places next to the Camerlengo at the head table.

According to tradition, it is expected that the preacher of the Pontifical Household, Fr. Raniero Catalamessa, O.F.M. Cap, will give the first meditation to the College of Cardinals early this afternoon.

“During the course of the meeting,” Fr. Lombardi added, “Dean Sodano proposed to the cardinals that, if they sent a message to the Pope emeritus, he would give a written response for one of the following meetings.” The Holy See Press Office Director also commented that the atmosphere was very friendly and that the cardinals took a 45-minute break for coffee and to exchange thoughts.
From 11:45am until 12:30pm, 13 cardinals took the floor to address issues mainly related to the process of the proceedings and the questions to be faced, also bearing in mind the results of the latest Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization.

“You could define this initial encounter,” Fr. Lombardi concluded, “as serene, constructive, and positive.”


VIS - Vatican Information Service


Friday, March 1, 2013


Vatican City, 1 March 2013 (VIS) – The College of Cardinals is currently comprised of 207 cardinals: 117 Cardinal electors who can vote in the election of the Pope and 90 cardinals who are over the age of 80. First in the order of the hierarchy are Cardinal-bishops. Currently six in number, these were originally the bishops of the "suburbicarian" dioceses of Rome. Still today the Cardinal-bishops are assigned one of these seven suburbicarian Sees, even though they are not bishops of the diocese. Alongside the titular Cardinal-bishops of those Sees in the hierarchy of the Church (with the exception of Ostia's titular who, since 1150, has been the dean of the College of Cardinals), Pope Paul VI added, in his motu proprio of 1965, “Ad Purpuratorum Patrum”, the patriarchs of the Eastern Catholic Churches. The patriarchs are not assigned any further title because the names of each of their patriarchal Sees is already included in their title as cardinal.

Second and most numerous in the three orders of cardinals are the Cardinal-priests who are assigned the “titulos” (title) of the important churches of the Diocese of Rome.

Last in the order of cardinals are the Cardinal-deacons who were originally the seven deacons in the Papal Household and the seven deacons who supervised the Church's works in the districts of Rome during the early Middle Ages, when church administration was effectively the government of Rome and provided for all of the city's social services. Cardinal-deacons today are given title to one of these deaconries.

Following is the complete list of the College of Cardinals according to their respective order of precedence. Cardinal electors are marked with an asterisk.


*RE Giovanni Battista
ARINZE Francis
*BERTONE Tarcisio
Cardinal-Bishop Patriarchs
SFEIR Nasrallah Pierre
DELLY Emmanuel III
*NAGUIB Antonios
*RAÏ Béchara Boutros
ARNS Paulo Evaristo
BAUM William Wakefield
CÉ Marco
MACHARSKI Franciszek
KITBUNCHU Michael Michai
do NASCIMENTO Alexandre
*DANNEELS Godfried
WILLIAMS Thomas Stafford
*MEISNER Joachim
VIDAL Ricardo J.
WETTER Friedrich
SIMONIS Adrianus Johannes
LAW Bernard Francis
BIFFI Giacomo
FALCÃO José Freire
SANTOS Alexandre José Maria dos
PIMENTA Simon Ignatius
CLANCY Edward Bede
SZOKA Edmund Casimir
TUMI Christian Wiyghan
CASSIDY Edward Idris
*LÓPEZ RODRÍGUEZ Nicolas de Jesús
*MAHONY Roger Michael
RUINI Camillo
KOREC Ján Chryzostom
VLK Miloslav
WAMALA Emmanuel
KEELER William Henry
*TURCOTTE Jean-Claude
CARLES GORDÓ Ricardo María
MAIDA Adam Joseph
*PULJI? Vinko
TONINI Ersilio
STAFFORD James Francis
DE GIORGI Salvatore
*ROUCO VARELA Antonio María
*PENGO Polycarp
*SCHÖNBORN Christoph
*GEORGE Francis Eugene
*SEPE Crescenzio
MEJÍA Jorge María
*KASPER Walter
*DIAS Ivan
*AGNELO Geraldo Majella
MCCARRICK Theodore Edgar
*BA?KIS Audrys Juozas
*ERRÁZURRIZ OSSA Francisco Javier
*NAPIER Wilfrid Fox
AGRÉ Bernard
*CIPRIANI Thorne Juan Luis
*HUMMES Cláudio
*BERGOGLIO Jorge Mario
*POLICARPO José da Cruz
*POLETTO Severino
EGAN Edward Michael
HUSAR Lubomyr
TUCCI Roberto
*SCOLA Angelo
*OKOGIE Anthony Olubunmi
*ZUBEIR Wako Gabriel
*RIGALI Justin Francis
*O'BRIEN Keith Michael Patrick
SCHEID Eusébio Oscar
*TURKSON Peter Kodwo Appiah
*TOPPO Telesphore Placidus
*PELL George
*BOZANI? Josip
*PHAM MINH MÂN Jean-Baptiste
*BARBARIN Philippe
*ERD? Péter
*VALLINI Agostino
*UROSA SAVINO Jorge Liberato
ROSALES Gaudencio B.
*RICARD Jean-Pierre
CHEONG Jinsuk Nicholas
*O'MALLEY Sean Patrick
*DZIWISZ Stanis?aw
*BRADY Seán Baptist
*SARR Théodore-Adrien
*DiNARDO Daniel N.
*SCHERER Odilo Pedro
*NJUE John
KARLIC Estanislao Esteban
MAZOMBWE Medardo Joseph
*ROMEO Paolo
*WUERL Donald William
*NYCZ Kazimierz
*PATABENDIGE DON Albert Malcolm Ranjith
*MARX Reinhard
*COLLINS Thomas Christopher
*DUKA Dominik
*EIJK Willem Jacobus
*BETORI Giuseppe
*DOLAN Timothy Michael
*WOELKI Rainer Maria
MURE?AN Lucian
*THOTTUNKAL Baselios Cleemis
*ONAIYEKAN John Olorunfemi
*TAGLE Luis Antonio
*TAURAN Jean-Louis
MARTINO Renato Raffaele
*NICORA Attilio
COTTIER Georges Marie Martin
NAGY Stanis?aw
*LEVADA William Joseph
*RODÉ Franc
CORDERO LANZA di Montezemolo Andrea
*SANDRI Leonardo
*LAJOLO Giovanni
*CORDES Paul Josef
*RY?KO Stanis?aw
*FARINA Raffaele
COPPA Giovanni
*AMATO Angelo
*SARAH Robert
*MONTERISI Francesco
*BURKE Raymond Leo
*KOCH Kurt
*SARDI Paolo
*DE PAOLIS Velasio
*RAVASI Gianfranco
*FILONI Fernando
*VEGLIÒ Antonio Maria
*BERTELLO Giuseppe
*AVIZ João BRAZ de
*O'BRIEN Edwin Frederick
*CALCAGNO Domenico
*VERSALDI Giuseppe
GRECH Prosper
*HARVEY James Michael


VIS - Vatican Information Service


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 Gandolgo. 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 Balthazar.

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.


VIS - Vatican Information Service


Vatican City, 1 March 2013 (VIS) - Today, the first day of the Sede Vacante, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, has begun to summon the cardinals to the first of the General Congregations, as provided for by the Apostolic Constitution “Universi Dominici Gregis”.

This first General Congregation will take place on Monday, 4 March, at 9:30am in the Synod of Bishops Hall. A second General Congregation is also scheduled for 5:00pm in the same place.

Following is the text of the letter:

“As prescribed in the Apostolic Constitution “Universi Dominici Gregis” of 22 February 1996 at No. 19, analogous to the case of the death of the Supreme Pontiff, I have the duty to officially communicate to Your Eminence the news of the vacancy of the Apostolic See from the renunciation presented by Pope Benedict XVI effective from yesterday evening, 28 February, at 8:00pm in Rome.”

“On communicating this to you I fulfil my duty of summoning Your Eminence to the first of the General Congregations of the College of Cardinals, to be held on Monday, 4 March, at 9:30am in the Synod of Bishops Room in the Paul VI Hall.”

“The General Congregations will then continue normally until the complete number of Cardinal electors is gathered and the College of Cardinals decides the date for those Cardinal electors to enter into Conclave on the basis of what the recent Motu Proprio of 22 February established regarding modifications in the norms relating to the election of the Roman Pontiff.”

“On my part, I am pleased to take this opportunity to send you my fraternal greetings.”


VIS - Vatican Information Service


Vatican City, 28 February 2013 (VIS) – This afternoon, shortly after 5:00pm, Benedict XVI left the Vatican for the last time as Supreme Pontiff. A few moments earlier, in the San Damaso Courtyard of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., secretary of State of His Holiness, and other members of that dicastery bid him farewell. In full military regalia, the Swiss Guard troops paid him homage. Also present were Cardinal Agostino Vallini, vicar general of Rome, and Cardinal Angelo Comastri, vicar general of His Holiness for Vatican City. Many of the workers of the Vatican City State, with their families, were also in attendance and greeted the Pope with warm applause.

Before leaving the Vatican, Benedict XVI issued his last tweet: “Thank you for your love and support. May you always experience the joy that comes from putting Christ at the centre of your lives.”

Shortly afterwards the Holy Father, accompanied by his private secretary, Archbishop Georg Ganswein, prefect of the Papal Household, took a car to the Vatican heliport where the dean of the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, greeted him and he boarded the helicopter that carried him to Castel Gandolfo. As the helicopter lifted off, the bells of St. Peter's Basilica and the churches of Roma began ringing.

The Pope's helicopter flew over the city of Rome, passing by the Colosseum and St. John Lateran Basilica, and landed at the Castel Gandolfo heliport just after 5:20pm. Awaiting the Holy Father were Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello and Bishop Giuseppe Sciacca, respectively president and secretary general of the Governorate of Vatican City State along with Saverio Petrillo, director of the Pontifical Villas, Bishop Marcello Semeraro of the Diocese of Albano, and civil and religious authorities of the area. The Pope was then taken by car to the Castel Gandolfo Apostolic Palace, where he was greeted by hundreds of people while the bells of Castel Gandolfo's parishes rang out.

Shortly afterwards, Benedict XVI appeared at the balcony of the Apostolic Palace and said to the many faithful who were waiting to thank him for his pontificate: “Thank you. Thank you all. Dear friends, I am happy to be with you, surrounded by the beauty of Creation and your well wishes, which do me such good. Thank you for your friendship and your affection. You know that this day is different for me than the preceding ones. I am no longer the Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church, or I will be until 8:00 this evening and then no longer. I am simply a pilgrim beginning the last leg of his pilgrimage on this earth. But I would still—with my heart, with my love, with my prayers, with my reflection, and with all my inner strength—like to work for the common good and the Good of the Church and of humanity. I feel very supported by your kindness. Let us go forward with the Lord for the good of the Church and the world. Thank you. I now wholeheartedly impart my blessing. Blessed be God Almighty, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Good night! Thank you all!”

Benedict XVI's pontificate concludes at 8:00pm this evening (Rome time), at which time the period of the Sede Vacante begins. The Swiss Guards will no longer be in charge of his safekeeping—which detail will then be undertaken by the Vatican Gendarmerie—and will return to the Vatican to offer their service to the College of Cardinals. During this period the twitter account @Pontifex will be deactivated. Once elected, the new Pope may, if he so desires, take over its use. Benedict XVI's Fisherman's Ring and the seal of his pontificate will also be destroyed at that time and the papal apartments in the Vatican Palace will be sealed.


VIS - Vatican Information Service

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