(AsiaNews) - This morning the iconic "chimney stack" was placed on the Sistine
Chapel's roof a visual sign that the Conclave
is near, the beginning of which was decided yesterday with by an "unmistakable majority
"10 to 1", according to Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy
See Press Office as revealed during the daily briefing. The
emphasis on the majority also rejects press conspiracy theories of divisions
among the cardinals.
The Conclave schedule was also outlined. On Tuesday, the first day, the cardinal electors move to from St. Martha at 15.45 to the Apostolic Palace, the procession will begin at 16.30 from the Pauline Chapel to the Sistine Chapel. At 16.45 they will swear the oath, followed by the extra omnes and meditation from Card. Grech (not a voter). Then they can proceed to the first ballot. At about 19:15 they will recite Vespers and at 19.30 they are expected to return to Santa Marta for dinner.
In the following days, at 7.45 the transfer to the Apostolic Palace, at 8.15 am Mass in the Pauline Chapel, at 9.30 the entrance into the Sistine Chapel, the recitation of Morning prayer and the morning ballots. At 12:30, the return to Santa Marta for lunch. At 16:00 the Cardinals return to the Sistine Chapel and around the 16:50 the afternoon ballots begin. Every day there is then the recitation of Vespers at 19.15 and the subsequent return to Santa Marta.
Smoke will be visible only at the end of voting in the morning and afternoon. If there is no election or during the second of the two votes scheduled in the morning and in the afternoon the smoke can be expected around 12 and 19. However, if there is an election on the first ballot, the smoke, white, takes place before, between 10.30 and 11 and between 17 and 18.
Father Lombardi also recalled that, according to "Universi Dominici Gregis" on the first day there is a vote in the afternoon, then three days with 4 ballots per day, on the 5th day a suspension, even for a whole day, for reflection and prayer. From the sixth to the 11th there are votes. If to the 11th day there is still no election, it goes to a run-off between the two names that obtained the highest number of votes, and who themselves can not vote. Responding to a question on the possible duration of the conclave, Father Lombardi noted that the frequency of the votes usually leads to a quick decision and noted that the Conclaves of the last century have lasted only a few days.
As for the general congregations of yesterday and today, there were two new arrivals, the Cardinals Obando Bravo and Rosales, both non-voters, which led to a total 145 present. Yesterday there were 15 interventions, from cardinals who had requested to make an intervention. This morning, the ninth general congregation began with the decision on when the Cardinals would move to Santa Marta and it was decided that it will be Tuesday morning, before the celebration of the mass "pro eligendo pontefice", starting at 10, presided over by the cardinal dean. Rooms were allocated according to lots.
Today 17 cardinals addressed the college, from various backgrounds, which brings to 133 the total number of interventions with some prelates who have spoken more than once. Among the issues addressed: the expectations for the new pope, the ministries, the work of the curia and its improvement, the situation of the Church in large areas of the world.
One last question, Father Lombardi said he did not believe that Benedict XVI receives "particular" information about what is happening in the Congregations. (FP)