The Vatican’s spokesman announced today that the coming conclave to elect Pope Benedict XVI’s successor might be convened in shorter order than previously thought.
“It is possible that church authorities can prepare a proposal to be taken up by the cardinals on the first day after the papal vacancy,” Holy See Press Office director Fr. Federico Lombardi told the press on Feb. 16.
Church law currently prescribes that from the moment a Pope dies or renounces the pontificate “the Cardinal electors who are present must wait fifteen full days for those who are absent.”
In Blessed John Paul II’s 1996 document, the Apostolic Consitution titled “Universi Dominici Gregis,” cardinals are decreed to commence the voting process behind closed doors no sooner than 15 days, but no later than 20 into the “sede vacante” period.
Given the unprecedented circumstances of the Pope’s planned resignation on Feb. 28, however, Fr. Lombardi stated that the date could be moved forward.