FaithWorld

Cardinals want to be briefed on secret “Vatileaks” report

(Cardinals attends a meeting at the Synod Hall in the Vatican March 4, 2013. REUTERS/Osservatore Romano)

Catholic cardinals in a closed-door meeting ahead of the election of a new pontiff want to be briefed on a secret report into leaks about alleged corruption and mismanagement in the Vatican, a senior source said on Monday.

More than 140 cardinals began preliminary meetings to sketch a profile for the next pope following the shock abdication of Pope Benedict last month and to ponder who among them might be best to lead a church beset by crises.

The meetings, called “general congregations,” are open to cardinals regardless of age, although only those under 80 will later enter a conclave to elect a pope from among themselves.

The source, a prelate over 80 who was present at Monday’s meetings, said the contents of the report came up during the morning session but declined to say if the requests to be briefed were made in the formal sessions or informal coffee break discussions or both.

Pope Benedict speaks of “rough seas” of papacy at emotional farewell

(Pope Benedict XVI waves to the faithful after arriving in St Peter’s Square to hold his last general audience at the Vatican February 27, 2013. REUTERS/Max Rossi )

Pope Benedict bid an emotional farewell at his last general audience on Wednesday, acknowledging the “rough seas” that marked his papacy “when it seemed that the Lord was sleeping.”

In an unusually public outpouring for such a private man, he alluded to some of the most difficult times of his papacy, which was dogged by sex abuse scandals, leaks of his private papers and reports of infighting among his closest aides.

Soon-to-be “pope emeritus” praying and packing before move out of Vatican

(A technician works on a structure set up for TV media in front of St. Peter’s Square in Rome February 26, 2013. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi )

Pope Benedict was praying and packing on Tuesday two days before his move out of the Vatican and into retirement where he will assume the title of “pope emeritus” and still be referred to as “your holiness”.

The Vatican said Benedict was spending a quiet Tuesday in the apostolic palace with no audiences.

Cardinal’s departure darkens mood as pope allows early conclave

(A senior cleric resigned under duress on Monday and Pope Benedict took the rare step of changing Vatican law to allow his successor to be elected early, adding to a sense of crisis within the Roman Catholic Church.)

A senior cleric resigned under duress on Monday and Pope Benedict took the rare step of changing Vatican law to allow his successor to be elected early, adding to a sense of crisis within the Roman Catholic Church.

With just three days left before Benedict becomes the first pope in some six centuries to step down, he accepted the resignation of Britain’s only cardinal elector, Archbishop Keith O’Brien, who was to have voted for the next pope.

Vatican accuses Italian media of “false and damaging” reports ahead of conclave

(Tourists and pilgrims line up in the rain in Saint Peter’s Square to visit Saint Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican February 23, 2013. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard)

The Vatican on Saturday accused the Italian media of spreading “false and damaging” reports in what it condemned as a deplorable attempt to influence cardinals who will meet in a secret conclave next month to elect a new pope.

Since Pope Benedict announced his resignation on Feb. 11, Italian newspapers have been full of rumours about conspiracies, secret reports and lobbies in the Vatican that they say pushed the pope to abdicate.

Special Report: The loneliness of the short distance pope

(Pope Benedict XVI waves as he arrives to lead the Wednesday general audience in Saint Peter’s square, at the Vatican October 24, 2012. REUTERS/Giampiero Sposito)

In Havana last March, when Pope Benedict sat down with Fidel Castro, the revolutionary leader jocularly asked his fellow octogenarian: “What does a pope do?”

Benedict proceeded to tell Castro, who had stepped down as president in 2008 for health reasons and had to be helped to walk into the room, about his duties as leader of the 1.2 billion-member Roman Catholic Church.

Pope Benedict may change conclave rules before leaving on Feb 28: Vatican

(The Vatican emblem is seen inside  Vatican Citye February 20, 2013. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi )

Pope Benedict may change rules governing the conclave that will secretly elect his successor, a move that could move up the global meeting of cardinals who are already in touch about who could best lead Catholics through a period of crisis.

The Vatican appears to be aiming to have a new pope elected and then formally installed before Palm Sunday on March 24 so he can preside at Holy Week services leading to Easter.

Conclave electing the new pope could start before March 15: Vatican

(Archbishop Piero Marini closes the doors to the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel as cardinals begin the last conclave on April 18, 2005, which elected Pope Benedict. REUTERS/Osservatore Romano)

The conclave to choose Pope Benedict’s successor could start earlier than expected, giving the Roman Catholic Church a new leader by mid March, the Vatican said on Saturday.

Less than two weeks away from a historic papal resignation, the Vatican also stressed again that the pope was not abandoning the Church in times of difficulties and urged the faithful to trust in God and in the next pope.

Ex-Pope Benedict will have security and immunity by remaining in the Vatican

(The Vatican’s defensive walls, 19 Dec 2005/Vincent de Groot)

Pope Benedict’s decision to live in the Vatican after he resigns will provide him with security and privacy. It will also offer legal protection from any attempt to prosecute him in connection with sexual abuse cases around the world, Church sources and legal experts say.

“His continued presence in the Vatican is necessary, otherwise he might be defenseless. He wouldn’t have his immunity, his prerogatives, his security, if he is anywhere else,” said one Vatican official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“It is absolutely necessary” that he stays in the Vatican, said the source, adding that Benedict should have a “dignified existence” in his remaining years.

Vatican plans big send off for Pope Benedict, consultations on succession begin

(St Peter’s Basilica is pictured at the Vatican February 12, 2013. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi )

Cardinals around the world began informal contacts to discuss who should next lead the Church through a period of major crisis and the Vatican said it planned a big send-off for Pope Benedict before he becomes the first pontiff in centuries to resign.

At a Tuesday news conference on how the pope plans to spend the next two weeks before he steps out of the limelight, the Vatican also disclosed that the 85-year-old Benedict has been wearing a pacemaker since before he was elected pope in 2005.