FaithWorld

Vatican muzzles U.S. cardinals, conclave start may be delayed

(Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi of Italy arrives for a meeting at the Synod Hall in the Vatican March 5, 2013. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini)

Vatican officials on Wednesday told cardinals gathered for the election of the next pope to stop speaking to the media, as further indications emerged that a conclave would not start early next week as had been expected.

American cardinals who had been scheduled to hold their third media briefing in as many days cancelled it less than an hour before it was to have started at Rome’s North American College, where they are residing.

A spokeswoman for the American cardinals said “concern” was expressed at Wednesday’s closed-door meeting “about leaks of confidential proceedings reported in Italian newspapers”.

More than 150 cardinals attended the third day of the preliminary meetings to sketch a profile for the next pope following the shock abdication of Pope Benedict last month. All but two of the 115 “cardinal electors” aged under 80 have arrived for the meetings, the Vatican said.

Cardinals say will not be rushed into electing new pope

(Cardinal Sean O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston, speaks during a news conference at the North American College in Rome March 5, 2013.
REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi)

Catholic cardinals said on Tuesday they wanted time to get to know each before choosing the next pope and meanwhile would seek more information on a secret report on alleged corruption in the Vatican.

Nearly 150 cardinals held a second day of preliminary meetings, known as “general congregations”, to sketch a profile for the next pope following the shock abdication of Pope Benedict last month.

Women deserve bigger role in Catholic Church leadership, says key cardinal

(Argentinian Cardinal Leonardo Sandri arrives for a meeting at the Synod Hall in the Vatican March 4, 2013. REUTERS/Max Rossi )

The Roman Catholic Church must open itself up to women in the next pontificate, giving them more leadership positions in the Vatican and beyond, according to a senior cardinal who will be influential in electing the next pope.

In an exclusive interview with Reuters, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, 69, an Argentine, also said the next pope should not be chosen according to a geographic area but must be a “saintly man” qualified to lead the Church in a time of crisis.

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.

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.