8 March 2013
Workers cover the floor of the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel on 8 March in preparation for the papal conclave. Cardinal electors assembled in Rome will begin voting for the next pope on 12 March. (photo: CNS/L’Osservatore Romano)
It was announced today that cardinals will begin the process to elect the pope next Tuesday:
Cardinal electors assembled in Rome will begin voting for the next pope on 12 March.
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, announced the date for the start of the election, known as a conclave, in a message to reporters on 8 March.
The first session of voting inside the Sistine Chapel will begin in the afternoon, following a morning Mass “Pro eligendo Summo Pontifice” (“for the election of the supreme pontiff”) in St. Peter’s Basilica.
Rules governing papal elections state that a conclave must start between 15 and 20 days after the Holy See falls vacant; but shortly before his resignation on 28 February, Pope Benedict XVI issued a decree allowing cardinal to move up the start date if they choose.
The College of Cardinals decided the date on the fifth day of its pre-conclave meetings, after waiting for the 115 cardinals eligible and expected to vote. The last to arrive in Rome was Cardinal Jean-Baptiste Pham Minh Man of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, who joined the others on 7 March.
At the morning session on 8 March, before announcing the scheduled vote, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, told the assembly that with the changes made by Pope Benedict, the cardinals would not have to debate on whether they were authorized to begin the conclave before 15 March, Father Lombardi said.
7 March 2013
Tags: Vatican Pope Papacy Rome
In Ohrid, Macedonia, a priest takes to the streets, blessing the faithful with holy water. (photo: Sean Sprague)
In 2004, writer Sean Sprague visited a corner of Macedonia to report on the thriving faith of the Orthodox:
Although Macedonia became a republic within the newly created Yugoslav federation, which also included Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia, the Communist government of Josip Broz Tito encouraged Macedonian nationalists and the independence of the Church of Ohrid — if only to irritate Greek ambitions in the area.
The Archdiocese of Ohrid was restored in 1958. Nine years later on the 200th anniversary of its dissolution and despite opposition from the Serbian Orthodox Church, the Macedonian Orthodox Church proclaimed itself autocephalous.
“We are now a free church and a free people,” exclaimed Father Eftim Betinski, a parish priest from St. George Church. “Now that we have independence, people feel free to visit churches, participate in public ceremonies and make old traditions a part of their lives again.”
When Macedonia was a part of Yugoslavia, people were free to worship, but the Communist government discouraged public religious activities.
“We have an annual tradition where the bishop throws a cross into the lake on 19 January, symbolizing the baptism of Christ. Men dive into the frigid water to retrieve the cross and the one who finds it keeps it for 40 days and receives small donations from people,” Father Betinski said. “The practice used to be forbidden, but now it is allowed.”
The Macedonian Orthodox Church — now under the leadership of Stefan, Archbishop of Ohrid and Macedonia — is clearly growing.
Read more about the Macedonian Orthodox in Answering the Macedonian Question from the July 2004 issue of ONE.
6 March 2013
Tags: Cultural Identity Eastern Europe Communism/Communist Macedonia Macedonian Orthodox Church
Patriarch Louis Raphael I stands with his crosier after being enthroned as the new head of the Chaldean Church at St. Joseph Chaldean Church in Baghdad on 6 March. For more on the Chaldean Catholic Church, check out this overview or our more-recent profile in ONE. (photo: CNS/Saad Shalash, Reuters)
5 March 2013
Tags: Chaldean Church Patriarchs Eastern Catholic Churches
The stovepipe that carries the smoke from burning conclave ballots and documents is seen in the Sistine Chapel after it was made ready for the 2005 conclave. Both Blessed John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have remarked on the inspiration of Michelangelo’s frescos during the deliberations and rituals of the conclave. Reports indicate that the Sistine Chapel will be closed to the public after Tuesday, to prepare for the conclave. (photo: CNS)
Amid building anticipation for the beginning of the conclave, those cardinals who participated in the 2005 conclave recount their experiences. CNS reports:
Less than half of the 117 cardinals eligible to vote for a successor to Pope Benedict XVI were in the 2005 conclave that elected him.
Two of those that were — Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa and South African Cardinal Wilfrid Napier — described the scene as being one of deep prayer and trembling.
Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga told Catholic News Service that, during the conclave, the cardinals spend most of their time in the Sistine Chapel, even though they cast ballots only four times a day.
The time in the chapel includes prayer, writing names on ballots and counting them. But when casting each vote, each cardinal must stand and publicly swear, in Latin, that he is voting according to his conscience. With 115 cardinal-electors expected, that will take time.
“In front of the crucifix and in front of the ’Final Judgment’ painting, we say, ’I call Jesus as a witness, and he will judge me that I have elected according to my conscience,’ so you can imagine … why it takes so long. And in the meantime, when everybody is casting their votes, we are praying, so it is like a big cenacle of prayer.”
“This is beautiful,” Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga said. “This is the most loving experience, how an election should be. I wish all the elections in the world could be like that: in an atmosphere of prayer.” …
U.S. Cardinal J. Francis Stafford, who celebrated his 80th birthday last July and is ineligible to enter this conclave, told CNS, “The conclave is basically an extended liturgy,” with prayer punctuating every moment of the day, including the voting.
Read the rest here.
4 March 2013
Tags: Vatican Catholic Church Papacy Catholicism
Cardinals attend a meeting at the synod hall in the Vatican on 4 March. Preparations for electing a new pope began as the College of Cardinals met. Catholic News Service has additional details about the pre-conclave meetings. (photo: CNS/L’Osservatore Romano Via Reuters)
1 March 2013
Workers remove the banner with Pope Benedict XVI's coat of arms after the pope's final public appearence as pope in the town square in Castel Gandolfo on 28 February. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)
28 February 2013
Tags: Pope Benedict XVI Vatican Catholic Pope Papacy
Pope Benedict XVI addresses the College of Cardinals at the Vatican on 28 February, the final day of his papacy. In attendance were 144 cardinals, including many of the 115 younger than 80 who are eligible and expected to vote in the upcoming conclave. Read the text of his final remarks to the cardinals here. (photo: CNS/L’Osservatore Romano via Reuters)
27 February 2013
Tags: Pope Benedict XVI Vatican Pope Papacy
Signs salute Pope Benedict XVI with words of gratitude as he arrives to lead his final general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican on 27 February. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)
Pope Benedict XVI held his final public audience this morning. CNS describes the scene:
On his last full day as pope, Pope Benedict XVI delivered an unusually personal and emotional farewell address, thanking the faithful around the world for their support and assuring them that he would remain in their service even in retirement.
“I will continue to accompany the path of the church with prayer and reflection, with that dedication to the Lord and to his bride that I have tried to live every day till now and that I want to live always,” the pope told a crowd in St. Peter’s Square on 27 February, the eve of his resignation.
Under a clear blue sky with temperatures in the low 40s, the pope arrived for his last public audience shortly after 10:30 a.m., standing and waving for almost 15 minutes as his white popemobile made a circuit through the square. Cheering pilgrims waved national flags and banners with slogans such as “always with the pope” and “you will never be alone.”
The crowd spilled over into the adjacent Via della Conciliazione, which had been closed to motorized traffic, and the Vatican estimated turnout at 150,000.
Abandoning his usual practice of giving a catechetical talk on a devotional text or theme at public audiences, the pope spoke about his time as pope and his historic decision to resign. He looked tired but composed as he read his speech, and he smiled at the frequent interruptions by applause.
Pope Benedict recalled his almost eight-year pontificate as a time of “joy and light, but also difficult moments.”
“The Lord has given us so many days of sun and light breeze, days in which the catch of fish has been abundant,” he said, likening himself to St. Peter on the Sea of Galilee.
“There have also been moments in which the waters were turbulent and the wind contrary, as throughout the history of the church, and the Lord seemed to be asleep,” he said. “But I have always known that the Lord is in that boat and that the boat of the church is not mine, it is not ours, but it is his and he does not let it sink.”
Read the full text of the pope’s remarks here. Below, CNS has posted a video of the final blessing of the general audience:
26 February 2013
Tags: Pope Benedict XVI Vatican Pope Papacy
In this image from 2008, Pope Benedict XVI and Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, left, stand in front of the tomb of St. Peter at the conclusion of a Mass on the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican June 29. (photo: CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano via Reuters)
Yesterday, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople paid tribute to Pope Benedict XVI and called him a “friend of the Orthodox Church”:
Pope Benedict leaves an indelible mark on the life and history of the Roman Catholic Church, sealed not only by his brief papacy, but also by his broad and longstanding contribution as a theologian and hierarch of his Church, as well as his universally acknowledged prestige.
His writings will long speak of his deep theological understanding, through his knowledge of the Fathers of the undivided Church, his familiarity with contemporary reality, and his keen interest in the problems of humankind.
We Orthodox will always honor him as a friend of our Church and a faithful servant of the sacred proposition for the union of all. Moreover, we shall rejoice upon learning of his sound health and the productivity of his theological work.
The photograph above is a reminder of the fraternal closeness of the patriarch and the pope: the successor of Peter and the successor of Peter’s brother, Andrew.
25 February 2013
Tags: Pope Benedict XVI Ecumenism Orthodox Church Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, Pope Benedict XVI, Rabbi David Rosen and Wande Abimbola, representative for the Yoruba religion of Nigeria, smile as a dove is held up during the interfaith meeting for peace outside the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi, Italy,
on 27 October 2011. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)
In October of 2011, Pope Benedict made a pilgrimage to Assisi to meet with other religious leaders and mark the 25th anniversary of the first interfaith gathering for peace there, hosted by Pope John Paul II in 1986.
As CNS reported at the time:
After a train ride of almost two hours from the Vatican, Pope Benedict and his guests arrived in Assisi and were driven to the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels for the morning gathering focused on “testimonies for peace.”
Entering the basilica before the pope, the delegates created an unusually colorful congregation: They wore white, black or crimson robes or business suits; on their heads were skullcaps, turbans, scarves or veils.
The pope condemned the use of religion to excuse violence and the use of violence to impose a religion, as well as the growing violence resulting from “the loss of humanity” that comes from denying the existence of God and of objective moral standards.
“As a Christian, I want to say at this point: Yes, it is true, in the course of history, force has also been used in the name of the Christian faith. We acknowledge it with great shame,” Pope Benedict said.
Christian leaders, like all religious leaders, he said, must work constantly to help their followers purify their faith and be “an instrument of God’s peace in the world, despite the fallibility of humans.”
But a lack of religion is not the answer to world peace, he said.
The Nazi death camps clearly proved that “the denial of God corrupts man, robs him of his criteria (for judging right and wrong) and leads him to violence,” the pope said.
On the other hand, he said, many nonbeliever also are “pilgrims of truth, pilgrims of peace.”
Tags: Pope Benedict XVI Ecumenism Orthodox Interfaith Judaism