Black smoke signals no pope elected at first conclave vote

Black smoke rises from the chimney on the roof of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican City indicating that no decision has been made after the first day of voting for the election of a new pope, March 12, 2013. REUTERS-Dylan Martinez

Black Smoke Appeared At Sistine Chapel Chimney

With a thick puff of black smoke from the Sistine Chapel’s chimney, day one of the conclave on Tuesday ends with no conclusive first vote in the conclave to elect a new pope at a time when the Roman Catholic Church really need a leader. The smoke came at 2:41 p.m. U.S. Eastern time leaving the church’s 115 cardinals to meet Wednesday morning to vote for the second day to elect a pope needing at least 77 votes to elect a new pope. There will be up to four votes per day until a pope is elected. If a new pope is elected, white smoke will be released from the Sistine Chapel at 5:30 a.m. (10:30 a.m. Italy), 7 a.m., 12:30 a.m. or 2 p.m. and if no pope is elected then black smoke will rise from the chapel at 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. Times may vary and times are estimated based on previous elections and predictions. The new pope must accept the position before the white smoke is released and as promised if the smoke is released at night then the Sistine Chapel chimney will be lit for onlookers to see the smoke as it was on Tuesday. Of course, as stipulated, if no pope is elected by Friday then the cardinals will pause Saturday for reflection and prayers thus continuing the voting pattern until 34th voting round which will lead to a runoff between top candidates. Once the white smoke is released, the bells of St. Peter’s Basilica will ring as in 2005 and the senior cardinal deacon, French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, will stand on the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica shouting “Habemus Papam!” (“We have a new pope!”) then present the new pope with his white papal cassocks to give his first blessing as pope. Thousands watched in St. Peter’s Square as the black smoke poured out of the narrow flue in the rain following a day rich in ritual and pageantry.

After prayer for divine guidance, the cardinals took an oath in Latin to never divulge any details of their deliberation before they secluded themselves behind the chapel’s heavy wooden doors. No conclave in modern times has elected a pope the first day and some cardinals believe it could take four or five days to pick a man to replace the recently retired Pope Benedict. The “Princes of the Church” will spend the night in a Vatican hotel then begin day two of voting in the Sistine Chapel on Wednesday with two rounds of voting one in the morning and two in the afternoon. Voting will continue until a new pontiff is appointed and communication with the outside world will be smoke from the Chapel chimney indicated by black smoke when the voting sessions end with no result and white smoke when a pontiff is elected. Whom ever becomes the 266th pontiff of the Catholic church in its 2,000 year history will face several challenges including sex abuse scandals, infighting within the Vatican bureaucracy and the secularism in its European heartland and beyond. No clear cut contenders have emerged since some want a stronger manager to control the Curia and others calling for a powerful pastor to promote faith around the world. The doors of the Sistine Chapel were closed at 5:34 p.m. after the master of ceremonies, Guido Marini, said “Extra Omnes” or “Everyone Out” asking those no associate with the gathering to leave the room except Maltese Cardinal Prosper Grech, an 87 year old who is too old to participate in the vote, who gave a sermon to remind the 115 cardinal electors of their responsibility.

The faithful gathered in Rome in hopes that a new leader would bring change after a difficult eight year reign by Pope Benedict. As Maria Dasdores Paz, a Brazilian nun who attended the Mass explains to Reuters that the new pope “must be a great pastor with a big heart, and also have the capacity to confront the Church’s problems, which are very great…Every day there seem to be more.” All of the prelates in the Sistine Chapel were appointed by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI or Pope John Paul II and the next pope will certainly defend the traditional moral teachings of the church, but many point out the failures of Benedict and Paul to reform the Curia leaving many feeling that the next pope must be a good chief executive or have good management put in place under him. Several papal candidate have been discussed including Italian and non-Italian prelates with growing pressure to choose a pontiff from somewhere else in the world since only 24 percent of Catholics live in Europe. Only time will tell if the next pope will live up to the position or falter in one respect or another as popes before him have.

Oath Sworn By Cardinals Before Papal Vote (FULL TEXT)

Oath Sworn By Cardinals Before Papal Vote (FULL TEXT).

On Tuesday, March 12 the conclave to elect the next pope after Benedict began this morning, but before the voting could begin the 115 cardinals took an oath of secrecy in the Sistine Chapel. The oath was administer by the conclave’s presiding cardinal, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, which after reading the oath each cardinal elector touched the Holy Gospels and made a “promise, pledge, and swear” to uphold the oath. Here is the full text of the oath as provided by the Associated Press:

 

“We, the Cardinal electors present in this election of the Supreme Pontiff promise, pledge and swear, as individuals and as a group, to observe faithfully and scrupulously the prescriptions contained in the Apostolic Constitution of the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II, Universi Dominici Gregis, published on 22 February 1996.

 

We likewise promise, pledge and swear that whichever of us by divine disposition is elected Roman Pontiff will commit himself faithfully to carrying out the munus Petrinum of Pastor of the Universal Church and will not fail to affirm and defend strenuously the spiritual and temporal rights and the liberty of the Holy See.

 

In a particular way, we promise and swear to observe with the greatest fidelity and with all persons, clerical or lay, secrecy regarding everything that in any way relates to the election of the Roman Pontiff and regarding what occurs in the place of the election, directly or indirectly related to the results of the voting; we promise and swear not to break this secret in any way, either during or after the election of the new Pontiff, unless explicit authorization is granted by the same Pontiff; and never to lend support or favor to any interference, opposition or any other form of intervention, whereby secular authorities of whatever order and degree or any group of people or individuals might wish to intervene in the election of the Roman Pontiff.”

Roman Curia vs. American Cardinals: Increasing Divisions, Culture Clash At Vatican

Roman Curia vs. American Cardinals: Increasing Divisions, Culture Clash At Vatican.

Now that the pope has resigned to a life of prayer and meditation at the summer retreat and soon back at the Vatican, the search for his successor has now begun. According to father Federico Lombardi, spokesman for the press office of the Holy See, the first general congregation of the day failed to come up with a date for the conclave but the cardinals, all except one of the 115 electoral cardinals, will meet again this afternoon. After the media confusion yesterday, when parallel press conferences organized by American cardinals were cancelled, it has become clear that inside Paolo VI Hall where the congregations us being held the mood feels dire as the decision to set a date has been delayed. The mood surrounding the events outside the congregation were no better the past few days as the atmosphere has soured with cardinals rushing past ignoring the journalists and photographers. As the International Herald Tribune reports that the situation at the Vatican can be considered a culture clash as the U.S. cardinals will comply with the request of the College of Cardinal’s to refrain from talking to the press. However, an official press realease from Sister Mary Ann Walsh, head of the press office for the conference of U.S. cardinals, revealed that the cardinals are very upset by the request saying,” The U.S cardinals are committed to transparency and have been pleased to share a process-related overview of their work with members of the media and with the public, in order to inform while ensuring the confidentiality of the General Congregations.” Therefore, among the U.S. cardinals which totals 11 the consensus starting today is to honor the request for silence from the Curia Romana. According to U.S. delegation, the leaks in the Italian newspapers which upset the Holy See were not dependent on the U.S. cardinals who organized a press conference where little of the private discussion between more than 150 cardinals emerged, but was directly due to undesirable leaks from Italian cardinals talking to newspapers they trust according to the International Herald Tribune. The lies being told are due to enormous differences in journalistic practices and traditions such as American newspapers using anonymous sources as an exception or as an option to use carefully and judicially where as the Italian papers use the practice arguably to the point of abused and is widely accepted. Today, may be the last interview allowed prior to election of a new pope.

Vatican Blasts ‘False’ Pre-Conclave Reporting

Vatican Blasts ‘False’ Pre-Conclave Reporting.

The Vatican on Saturday scolded the media for running defamatory and false reports before the conclave of Pope Benedict XVI’s successor saying these were attempts to influence the election. The Italian newspapers have been running unsourced reports in recent days about the content of a secret dossier prepared for the pope by three cardinals who researched the origins of the Vatileaks scandal in 2012. The reports claim that the revelations in the dossier given to the Pope in December factored into his decision to resign as Pope. The has only said that because he doesn’t have the strength of body and mind to carry on he will resign Feb. 28. The Vatican secretariat of state said on Saturday according to the Associated Press,” If in the past, the so-called powers, i.e., States, exerted pressures on the election of the pope, today there is an attempt to do this through public opinion that is often based on judgments that do not typically capture the spiritual aspect of the moment that the church is living.” He continued in his statement saying, “It is deplorable that as we draw closer to the time of the beginning of the conclave … that there be a widespread distribution of often unverified, unverifiable or completely false news stories that cause serious damage to persons and institutions.”

Some Vatican watchers claim because the Vatican bureaucracy is heavily Italian that the cardinals might be persuaded to elect non-Italian, non-Vatican based cardinals as pope to force some reform. Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, a papal contender, criticized the division, dissent, careerism and jealousies that afflicts the Vatican bureaucracy. The divisions he speaks of were exposed in the document taken from the pope’s study by his butler and leaked by a journalist according to the Associated Press.  The document  itself tells of the petty wrangling, corruption and allegations of a gay plot in the highest levels of the church. The three cardinals who investigated the theft from the Vatican had the power to interview other cardinals to get to the bottom of the dynamics in the Curia that caused the security breach. On Saturday, Benedict lamented the evil, suffering and corruption that has defaced God’s creation, but thanked the Vatican bureaucrats for helping him bear the burden of his ministry with their work, faith, love and faith these past eight years according to the Associated Press.

 

 

First Pope to leave office in 600 years – timesofmalta.com

First Pope to leave office in 600 years – timesofmalta.com.

It is rare in any lifetime to witness a pope being chosen from the college of cardinals but even rarer to see a pope leave before his time is up. In my young existence, I have witnessed both happen and will see another cardinal become a pope of one of the largest church organizations in the world, the Catholic Church. Say what you will, this will still go down in history and will be remember for a long time.

On Monday February 11, 2013, Pope Benedict XVI did the unthinkable and said he will resign on February 28, becoming the first pontiff in 600 years to take such a step. The leader of the 1.2 billions Catholics around the world, Pope Benedict in a statement read in Latin during a church council with cardinals said that he no longer had the strength to fulfill his duties which has shocked the world. As he says,”My strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry.” Vatican officials explained that the statement had been translated into different languages before the Pope could make his announcement for immediate dissemination. The decision by the 85 year old German Pontiff who was elected to the papacy in April of 2005 has left many wondering what to do with two living Popes and has caused a paradox for the church as this has not happened in 600 years. A conclave of cardinals expected to be he;d in March will elect a new Pope. Arrangements are underway to provide Pope Benedict with a place of residence which may be a disused monastery on Vatican grounds.

Today on Ash Wednesday in Vatican City, the Pope celebrated his final mass as pontiff presiding over services hours after explaining his decision to the faithful. The mood in St. Peter’s Basilica was somber as the finality of weight of Benedict’s decision registered with thousands of the faithful present, but ended with a standing ovation as Pope Benedict exited for the last time as pope bring tears to eyes of those closest to the man. “We wouldn’t be sincere, Your Holiness, if we didn’t tell you that there’s a veil of sadness on our hearts this evening,” Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Benedict’s longtime deputy, told the pope at the end of the service, his voice breaking. The crowd yelled “Viva il papa!” as the Pope stepped off the altar. By March 31, the church will have a new pope elected as it marks the end of Lent and the celebration of Easter which commemorates the death and resurrection of Christ on Easter Sunday.
Benedict explained to his flock why he broke with a 600 year tradition and decided to retire: “As you know, I have decided to renounce the ministry that the Lord gave to me on April 19, 2005…I did this in full liberty for the good of the church.” The Vatican has revealed his final days as pope saying he will attend a farewell ceremony with his cardinals then fly to the papal summer retreat at Castel Gandolfo. Under the timetable, Benedict will be far from the Vatican when he ceases to be pope at 8p.m. on February 28 a deadline he decided on. The College of Cardinals will then organize a conclave where the 117 or so cardinals under 80 will vote to see who will succeed Benedict. Benedict’s final appearance will be on February 27 and is expected to draw a crowd and will allow the faithful to say farewell under happier circumstances than his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, died in 2005.