Tuesday, February 12, 2013



Vatican City, 12 February 2013 (VIS) – Wednesday, 13 February at 5:00pm, the Holy Father will celebrate the rite of blessing and imposition of ashes in the Vatican Basilica, instead of the Roman Basilica of Santa Sabina, where the celebration is traditionally held. The reason, as Fr. Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, explained, is that, as this will be Benedict XVI's last public concelebration, a large number of participants is expected.
For the same reason, the Pope's annual meeting with the pastors of Rome, scheduled to take place on 14 February, will take place in the Paul VI Hall and will focus on?according to Fr. Lombardi's information?Vatican Council II, as the Roman clergy requested. Also, in expectation of great numbers, Benedict XVI's last general audience, scheduled for 27 February in the Paul VI Hall, will probably be moved to St. Peter's Square.
"The Pope is well," Fr. Lombardi said, "and his soul is serene. He did not resign the pontificate because he is ill but because of the fragility that comes with old age," he affirmed, recalling that the pontiff, recently underwent an entirely routine procedure to replace the battery of the pacemaker he wears, but that this had no impact on his decision. Likewise, Fr. Lombardi explained, the trip to Cuba and Mexico, due to his fatigue, was another reason in the development of Benedict XVI's decision, but not its cause.
The director of the Press Office confirmed that the Pope's calendar will continue as scheduled until 28 February, the last day of his pontificate, with ad limina visits from the Italian bishops, visits with the presidents of Romania and Guatemala, etc. However, the expected encyclical on Faith will not be published because the text still is not ready.

Vatican City, 11 February 2013 (VIS) ? The Holy Father, at the end of today's consistory for causes for canonization, announced his resignation from ministry as Bishop of Rome to the College of Cardinals. Following is the Holy Father's complete declaration, which he read in Latin:
"I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today?s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the barque of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfil the ministry entrusted to me. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is."
"Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer."

Vatican City, 11 February 2013 (VIS) - Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, on hearing the news of the Pope's resignation from the Petrine ministry, expressed his nearness, and that of all the cardinals, to Benedict XVI.
"We have heard you," he said, "with a sense of loss and almost disbelief. In your words we see the great affection that you have always had for God's Holy Church, for this Church that you have loved so much. Now, let me say, on behalf of this apostolic cenacle?the College of Cardinals?on behalf of your beloved collaborators, allow me to say that we are closer than ever to you, as we have been during these almost eight luminous years of your pontificate. On 19 April 2005, if I remember correctly, at the end of the conclave I asked ? 'Do you accept your canonical election as Supreme Pontiff?' And you did not hesitate, although moved with emotion, to answer that you accepted, trusting in the Lord's grace and the maternal intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church. Like Mary on that day she gave her 'yes', and your luminous pontificate began, following in the wake of continuity, in that continuity with your 265 predecessors in the Chair of Peter, over two thousand years of history from the Apostle Peter, the humble Galilean fisherman, to the great popes of the last century from St. Pius X to Blessed John Paul II."
"Holy Father, before 28 February, the day that, as you have said, you wish to place the word 'end' to your pontifical service, conducted with so much love and so humbly, before 28 February, we will be able to better express our feelings. So too will the many pastors and faithful throughout the world, so too all those of good will together with the authorities of many countries. ? Also, still this month, we will have the joy of listening to your voice as pastor: Ash Wednesday, Thursday with the clergy of Rome, in the Sunday Angelus, and the Wednesday general audiences, we will still have many occasions to hear your paternal voice. ? Your mission, however, will continue. You have said that you will always be near us with your witness and your prayer. Of course, the stars always continue to shine and so will the star of your pontificate always shine among us. We are near to you, Holy Father, and we ask you to bless us."

Vatican City, 11 February 2013 (VIS) ? Fr. Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, commented there and on Vatican Radio on Benedict XVI's resignation of the papacy. "Among the reasons for the Pope's resignation, as he noted in his own words," he said, "are the circumstances of today's world that, in relation to the past, are particularly difficult, both because of the speed as well as the number of events and problems that arise that, therefore, need a vigour, perhaps stronger than in the past. It is a vigour that the Pope says he has felt diminish in him in recent months."
He continued, "The phrase: 'well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter,' is very significant This is the formal declaration, which is important from a juridical point of view. In paragrapgh 2 of canon 332 of the Code of Canon Law, we read: 'Should it happen that the Roman Pontiff resigns from his office, it is required for validity that the resignation be freely made and properly manifested, but it is not necessary that it be accepted by anyone.' The two fundamental points are, therefore, freedom and due manifestation. Freedom and public manifestation, and the consistory in which the Pope manifested his will is public."
"Benedict XVI will continue to fully carry out his functions and his service until 28 February at 8:00pm. From that moment on the situation of Sede Vacante will begin, regulated, from a legal and canonical standpoint, by the texts referring to Sede Vacante in the Code of Canon Law and the Apostolic Constitution 'Universi dominici gregis' by John Paul II, regarding the Sede Vacante of the Apostolic See."
"The Pope's announcement is consistent with what he declared in the book 'Light of the World' by Peter Seewald, based on interviews with Benedict XVI. Seewald posed two precise questions on the hypothesis of resignation. In the first, he asked the Holy Father whether, in difficult situations that weigh on the pontificate in progress, the Pope would consider resigning. Benedict's response was: 'When the danger is great, one cannot escape. For this reason, surely, this would not be the time to resign' (he was referring to the question of sexual abuse, etc.). Moments like this are the times when one has to be strong and face the difficult situation. This is what I think. One can resign in a time of peace, or when one simply no longer has the strength, but one cannot escape in a moment of danger saying 'someone else take care of it'. In any case, the Pope said that the difficulties would not be, for him, a motive for resignation; rather, they would be a reason not to. Seewald's second question was: 'Well then, can you imagine a situation in which you would think that a Pope could resign?' The Holy Father responded: 'When a Pope realizes clearly that he is no longer physically, mentally, and spiritually capable of carrying out his role, then there is legally the possibility, and also the obligation, to resign.'"
The Director of the Holy See's Press Office explained that the Holy Father "will move to Castel Gandolfo on 28 February, and, once he has finished the tasks he has in progress, he will take up residence in the former cloistered monastery in the Vatican. The process for the election of a new Pope will begin on1 March. We do not yet know the exact date of the conclave, but obviously there will be no need to wait the normal eight days of mourning (novendali) after the death of the Pope. Thus, in two weeks, during the month of March, in time for Easter, we will have a new Pope ... Benedict XVI will have no role in next March's conclave, nor in the running of the Church during the time between popes, the time of Sede Vacante. The Apostolic Constitution gives no role in this transition to a pope who resigns."
"Personally," he concluded, "I received the announcement of the Pope's resignation with great admiration, for its great valour, for the Holy Father's freedom of spirit and great concern for the responsibility of his ministry. Benedict XVI has offered us a great witness of spiritual freedom, of great wisdom in regard to Church government in today's world."

VATICAN CITY, 11 February 2013 (VIS) ? It will soon be eight years since 19 April 2013, the day that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, dean of the College of Cardinals, was elected as Supreme Pontiff, the 264th successor of Peter, and chose the name Benedict XVI.
The cardinal proto-deacon, Jorge Arturo Medina Estevez, made the solemn announcement to the people at 6:43pm from the external loggia of the Hall of Blessings of the Vatican Basilica following the white smoke which occurred at 5:50pm.
Following are the words of Cardinal Medina Estevez:
Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum;
habemus Papam;
Eminentissium ac Reverendissium Dominum,
Dominum Josephum
Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae Cardinalem Ratzinger
Qui sibi nomen imposuit Benedictum XVI
(I announce to you with great joy;
We have a Pope;
The most eminent and most reverend Lord,
Lord Joseph
Cardinal of Holy Roman Church Ratzinger
Who has taken the name Benedict XVI)
The conclave that led to the election of Benedict XVI began on Monday, 18 April 2005, in the Sistine Chapel of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, with the "extra omnes" pronounced at 5:25pm by Archbishop Piero Marini, master of the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff, following the taking of the oath by the 115 cardinal electors.
The first black smoke took place at 8:04pm the same day.
On Tuesday, April 19, there was black smoke at 11:52am.
On Tuesday, April 19, there was white smoke at 5:50pm.
At 6:48pm, the Holy Father Benedict XVI, preceded by the Cross, appeared on the external loggia to greet the people and to impart the Apostolic Blessing "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and to the world).
Prior to the blessing, the new Pontiff addressed the faithful with the following words:
"Dear Brothers and Sisters,"
"After the great Pope John Paul II, the Lord Cardinals have elected me, a simple and humble worker in the vineyard of the Lord. I am consoled by the fact that the Lord knows how to act, even with inadequate instruments and above all I entrust myself to your prayers. In the joy of the Risen Lord, trusting in His permanent help, as we go forward the Lord will help us, and His Mother, Mary Most Holy, will be at our side. Thank you."

Vatican City, 11 February 2013 (VIS) ? The conclave to elect the successor of Benedict XVI will be regulated by the "Ordo Rituum Conclavis" established by John Paul II's apostolic constitution "Universi Dominici Gregis", para. 27. The Cardinal Camerlengo, who has a fundamental role during the Sede Vacante period, is Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, appointed by Benedict XVI on 4 April 2007.
The Cardinal electors, by their continents of provenance, will be 61 Europeans, 19 Latin Americans, 14 North Americans, 11 Africans, 11 Asians, and 1 from Oceania. These figures may vary depending on the date that the conclave opens: for example, Cardinal Walter Kasper will turn 80 on 5 March. The country with the greatest number of Cardinal electors is Italy, with 21. Sixty-seven of the electors were created by Benedict XVI and the remaining 50 by John Paul II.
One of John Paul II's innovations regarding the period of conclave is that the Cardinal electors?of whom there will be 117 on 28 February?will be housed in the Vatican residence Casa Santa Marta, which is independent from the place where they vote, the Sistine Chapel.
The Cardinal electors must remain in the Vatican during the entire period of conclave, and no one can approach them when they move from the Sistine Chapel to their place of residence or vice versa. All forms of communication with the outside world are prohibited. As in the past, the Sistine Chapel stove will be used to burn the ballots after each vote.
Vatican City, 12 February 2013 (VIS) - Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, archbishop of Krakow, Poland, after begin informed of Benedict XVI's resignation yesterday, made the following declaration in Krakow.

"With great respect and emotion I accept the Holy Father Benedict XVI's decision to resign from the governance of the Church and to entrust the care of Her future events to the College of Cardinals. I understand the reasons that the Holy Father presented to the members of the consistory. After John Paul II's death, Benedict XVI has guided Christ's Church with great reflection and wisdom, which come from his exceptional intellectual ability as well as his deep faith. I thank the Holy Father for all his efforts to renew the Church in the spirit of fidelity to the Teacher of Nazareth. As one of the bishops of Poland, I assure him of our gratitude for his friendship with John Paul II, for his beatification, and also for his exceptional benevolence toward the Polish nation. Personally, I will always be faithful and grateful for everything that I have received from him. The Church in Krakow will be eternally appreciative to the Peter of our time, Benedict XVI. Gratitude and fidelity. We will remain united in prayer and dedication, together with the Holy Father. I entrust Benedict XVI to the Holy Spirit and to Our Lady of Lourdes, the patroness of the day."

Vatican City, 11 February 2013 (VIS) – This morning at 11:00am in the Consistory Hall of the Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father presided over an ordinary public consistory for the canonization of the blesseds:
- Antonio Primaldo and Companions, martyrs, (1480);
- Laura di Santa Caterina da Siena Montoya y Upegui (1874 -1949), virgin, foundress of the Congregation of the Missionaries of Mary Immaculate and St Catherine of Siena; and
- Maria Guadalupe Garcia Zavala, co-foundress of the Congregation of the Handmaids of St Margaret Mary (Alacoque) and the Poor.
During the course of the consistory, the Pope decreed that blesseds Antonio Primaldo and his companions, Laura di Santa Caterina da Siena Montoya y Upegui and Maria Guadalupe Garcia Zavala be inscribed in the book of saints on Sunday, 12 May 2013.

Vatican City, 10 February 2013 (VIS) – As is customary on Sundays, Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.
The Pope commented on the Gospel of St. Luke that narrates the call of the first disciples, a call "preceded by Jesus' teaching to the multitude and by a miraculous catch of fish." While the crowd gathered on the shore of Lake Gennesaret to listen to Him, Jesus?seeing Simon disheartened because he hadn't caught anything the whole night?asks if He can board his boat to preach to the people a little way from the shore. Once finished preaching, Christ orders Simon to go out to sea with his companions and to cast their nets. Simon obeys and the nets are filled with an incredible amount of fish. "The Gospel writer shows that the first disciples followed Jesus, trusting in Him, acting on His Word, while accompanied by prodigious signs. … This is the pedagogy of God's call, which doesn't look as much at the quality of the chosen as at their faith, as in Simon's case.
"The image of the catch," the Pope emphasized, "recalls the Church's mission … Peter's experience, certainly unique, is also representative of the call of each Apostle in the Gospel, who should never lose heart in proclaiming Christ to all people, even to the ends of the earth. today's text also brings us to reflect on the vocation to the priesthood and to consecrated life. This is God's work. Human beings are not the authors of their own vocation, but respond to a divine call. Human weakness should not lead us to fear God's call. It is necessary to be confident in His strength, which acts precisely in our weakness. We must trust ever more in the power of His mercy, which transforms and renews us."
"May this Word of God also reignite in us and in our Christian communities the courage, confidence, and enthusiasm to announce and witness to the Gospel. Challenges and difficulties don't dishearten us: it falls to us to cast our nets with faith. The Lord will do the rest," concluded the Holy Father.
After praying the Angelus, Benedict XVI noted that many Asian countries are celebrating the Lunar New Year. Peace, harmony, and thanksgiving to heaven," he observed, "are the universal values that are celebrated in this happy circumstance, and they are wished for by all so as to build their family, society, and their nation upon them. I wish for those peoples the fulfilment of their aspirations for a happy and prosperous life. I send a special greeting to the Catholics of those countries that, in this Year of Faith, they may be guided by Christ's wisdom.
Lastly, he spoke of the World Day of the Sick, which will be celebrated tomorrow, 11 February, on the liturgical feastday of Our Lady of Lourdes. "The solemn ceremony," he said, "will take place in the Marian Shrine in Altotting, Bavaria, Germany. I am near to all the ill in prayer and affection and I spiritually join with those gathered in that sanctuary that I love so much."

Vatican City, 11 February 2013 (VIS) – Yesterday afternoon at 6:15pm, the Holy Father visited the Major Roman Seminary on the eve of its feast of its patroness, Our Lady of Trust. On arriving he was greeted by Cardinal Agostino Vallini and the rector, Fr. Concetto Occhipinti. Benedict XVI delivered a lectio divina on the First Letter of St. Peter to seminarians of the Major and Minor Roman Seminary, the "Almo Collegio Capranica", the "Redemptoris Mater" diocesan seminary, and the Virgin of Divine Love Seminary. Following are ample excerpts of his address, which was given without an official text.
"Peter speaks. This is almost the first encyclical by which the first apostle, vicar of Christ, speaks to the Church of all time. … He doesn't write as an isolated individual, but with the help of the Church, of the persons who help him to go more deeply into his faith, to enter into the depth of his thought. … This is very important: Peter doesn't speak as an individual, but 'ex persona Ecclesiae'. He speaks as a man of the Church, certainly as a person, with personal responsibility, but also as a person who speaks on behalf of the Church … in communion with the Church."
“I believe that it is also important that at the end of the letter he names Silvanus and Mark, two people who belonged to the group of St. Paul’s friends. Thus, the worlds of St. Peter and St. Paul come together; it is not an exclusively Petrine theology as opposed to a Pauline theology. Rather, it is a theology of the Church, of the faith of the Church, in which there is of course a diversity of temperament, of thought, of style. It is good that there are differences—different charisms, different temperaments—then as well as now. These differences do not divide but are united in the same faith.”
“St. Peter writes from Rome. This is important: here we already have the Bishop of Rome, the beginning of the succession, the basis of the concrete primacy located in Rome, not only given by the Lord but also placed in this city, capital of the world. Ever since his flight from Herod’s prison, Peter entrusted the Judeo-Christian church, the church of Jerusalem, to James and, in entrusting it to James, remained without qualification primate of the universal Church, primate of the Church of the pagans as well as primate of the Judeo-Christian Church … In Rome he met both parts of the Church: the Judeo-Christian and the Pagan-Christian united, an expression of the universal Church. And Peter was not alone in thinking of this movement: Jerusalem/Rome, Judeo-Christian Church/Universal Church. St. Paul knew that his end would be martyrdom, would be the cross. Therefore, to go to Rome was without doubt to go to martyrdom. The primacy has this universal component and also a martyriological component. The cross can take many different forms, but one cannot be Christian without following the Crucified, without accepting also the martyriological moment.”
“St. Peter called those to whom he wrote 'the chosen ones who are dispersed aliens'. Once again we have the paradox of glory and the cross: chosen but dispersed and strangers. We are chosen: God knows us always, since before we were born. God wanted me, as Christian, as Catholic, as priest … he chose me, he loved me, and now I respond. But to rejoice because God has chosen us is not triumphalism but gratitude, and I think that we have to learn this joy. Without doubt, 'chosen ones' needs to be accompanied by strangers and dispersed ones. As Christians, we are dispersed and we are strangers. We see that today Christians in the world today are the most persecuted group because they do not conform, because they go against the tendencies toward egoism and materialism.”
“Certainly Christians are not only strangers; we are also Christian nations, we feel proud to have contributed to the formation of culture. There is a healthy patriotism, a healthy joy in belonging to a nation that has a great history of culture and faith. However, without doubt, as Christians we are always strangers; this is the destiny of Abraham, as it is described in the Letter to the Hebrews. Today, as Christians we are each time more strangers than before. In the workforce, Christians are a minority and encounter a situation of alienation. It is remarkable that today one can still believe and live in this way. It is part of our life: it is the way of being with Christ Crucified, being strangers, who do not live the way everyone else lives. We live—or at least we try to live—according to his Word, in a great diversity, respectful of what everyone says. This is characteristic of Christians.”
"Finally we arrive at today’s three verses. I would only like to point out three words: regenerated, inheritance, and safeguarded by faith. Regenerated: this does not only refer to the area of the will; it refers to the whole sphere of being. It does not depend only on my will; it is an act of God … I am reborn. I am transformed, renewed. Being reborn, being regenerated indicates that I become part of a new family: God, My Father; the Church, my Mother; and other Christians, my brothers and sisters.”
"The second word: Inheritance. We are heirs, but not heirs of specific country but of the land of God, of the future of God. This word says that as Christians we have the future. Thus, as Christians, we know that ours is the future, and the tree of the Church is not a dying tree but a tree that grows ever new. Therefore, we have reason to not let ourselves be moved by the prophets of doom, as John XXIII said, who say that the Church is a tree grown from a mustard seed, which has lived two thousand years but now her time is past and the time to die has arrived. No. The church always renews itself; it is continually reborn. The future is ours. Of course, there is a false optimism and a false pessimism. A false pessimism says that the time of Christianity has come to an end. No: it begins again! A false optimism was that witnessed immediately after the Council when convents and seminaries were closed and people said: it doesn’t matter, everything is good. No: this is not good! There are also serious and grave dangers. We have to recognize with a healthy realism that all is not well. It is not good when they do wrong things. At the same time, we have to be sure that even though here and there the Church dies for the sins of humans, because of their lack of belief, at the same time, it is reborn."
"Finally, 'safeguarded by faith'. Faith is like the 'sentinel' that preserves the integrity of my being. We have to be grateful for this vigilance of faith that protects us, that helps us, that guides us, and that gives us safety. God will not let us fall from his hands."

Vatican City, 9 February 2013 (VIS) – Members of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, whose Grand Master is Fra' Matthew Festing, have come to Rome on pilgrimage to celebrate the ninth centenary of the "Pie postulatio volutatis" privilege of February 15, 1113, by which Pope Paschal II placed the newly created "hospitaller fraternity” of Jerusalem, dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, under Church protection, giving it sovereign status and constituting it as an Order in church law, with the faculty freely to elect its superiors without interference from other lay or religious authorities. This morning, Benedict XVI welcomed them to St. Peter's Basilica, thanking the Order for their offering, which will be destined to a work of charity. He also thanked Cardinal Paolo Sardi, patron of the Order, "for the care with which he strives to strengthen the special bond that joins you to the Catholic Church and most particularly to the Holy See".
"This important event," the Pope explained, "takes on a special meaning in the context of the Year of Faith, during which the Church is called to renew the joy and the commitment of believing in Jesus Christ, the one Saviour of the world. In this regard, you too are called to welcome this time of grace, so as to deepen your knowledge of the Lord and to cause the truth and beauty of the faith to shine forth, through the witness of your lives and your service, in this present time. Your Order, from its earliest days, has been marked by fidelity to the Church and to the Successor of Peter, and also for its unrenounceable spiritual identity, characterized by high religious ideals. Continue to walk along this path, bearing concrete witness to the transforming power of faith. …"
"By faith, down the centuries, the members of your Order have given themselves completely, firstly in the care of the sick in Jerusalem and then in aid to pilgrims in the Holy Land who were exposed to grave dangers: their lives have added radiant pages to the annals of Christian charity and protection of Christianity. In the nineteenth century, the Order opened up to new and more ample forms of apostolate in the area of charitable assistance and service of the sick and the poor, but without ever abandoning the original ideals, especially that of the intense spiritual life of individual members. In this sense, your commitment must continue with a very particular attention to the religious consecration? of the professed members?which constitutes the heart of the Order."
"In this sense," the Pope emphasized, "your Order, compared with other organizations that are committed in the international arena to the care of the sick, to solidarity and to human promotion, is distinguished by the Christian inspiration that must constantly direct the social engagement of its members. Be sure to preserve and cultivate this your qualifying characteristic and work with renewed apostolic ardour, maintaining an attitude of profound harmony with the Magisterium of the Church. Your esteemed and beneficent activity, carried out in a variety of fields and in different parts of the world, and particularly focused on care of the sick through hospitals and health-care institutes, is not mere philanthropy, but an effective expression and a living testimony of evangelical love. …"
"In Sacred Scripture, the summons to love of neighbour is tied to the commandment to love God with all our heart, all our soul and all our strength. Thus, love of neighbour?if based on a true love for God?corresponds to the commandment and the example of Christ. ... In order to offer love to our brothers and sisters, we must be afire with it from the furnace of divine charity: through prayer, constant listening to the word of God, and a life centred on the Eucharist."
The Pope concluded his address by inviting the members of the Order of Malta to "continue working in society and in the world along the elevated paths indicated by the Gospel?faith and charity, for the renewal of hope. Faith, as testimony of adherence to Christ and of commitment to the Gospel mission, which inspires you to an ever more vital presence in the ecclesial community and to an ever more conscious membership of the people of God; charity, as an expression of fraternity in Christ, through works of mercy for the sick, the poor, those in need of love, comfort and assistance, those who are afflicted by loneliness, by a sense of bewilderment and by new material and spiritual forms of poverty. These ideals are aptly expressed in your motto: “Tuitio fidei et obsequium pauperum”. These words summarize well the charism of your Order which, as a subject of international law, aims not to exercise power and influence of a worldly character, but in complete freedom to accomplish its own mission for the integral good of man, spirit and body, both individually and collectively, with special regard to those whose need of hope and love is greater.

Vatican City, 9 February 2013 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in separate audiences:
ten prelates from the Lazio region of the Italian Episcopal Conference on their "ad limina" visit:
- Archbishop Fabio Bernardo D’Onorio, O.S.B., of Gaeta,
- Bishop Delio Lucarelli of Rieti,
- Bishop Giuseppe Petrocchi of Latina-Terracina-Sezze-Priverno,
- Bishop Lino Fumagalli of Viterbo,
- Bishop Lorenzo Loppa of Anagni-Alatri,
- Bishop Romano Rossi of Civita Castellana,
- Bishop Ambrogio Spreafico of Frosinone-Veroli-Ferentino,
- Bishop Luigi Marrucci of Civitavecchia-Tarquinia,
- Bishop-elect Gerardo Antonazzo of Sora-Aquino-Pontecorvo,
- Abbot Pietro Vittorelli, O.S.B., of the territorial Abbey of Montecassino, and
Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

Vatican City, 11 February 2013 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father appointed Msgr. Robert J. Coyle as as military ordinary for the United States of America, assigning him the titular see of Zabi. The bishop-elect was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1964 and was ordained a priest in 1991. He has served in several pastoral roles, currently as pastor of Corpus Christi Parish in Mineola, New York. He was a military chaplain from 1991 to 1999, when he was named to Corpus Christi Parish, but has remained a reservist chaplain and has achieved the level of commander.
On Saturday, 9 February, the Holy Father appointed:
- Fr. Domingo Buezo Leiva as bishop of the apostolic vicariate of Izabal (area 9,038, population 413,339, Catholics 175,000, priests 30, permanent deacons 3, religious 45), Guatemala, assigning him the titular see of Dardano. The bishop-elect was born in Zulia, Guatemala in 1962 and was ordained a priest in 1988. Bishop-elect Buezo Leiva has served as pastor of several parishes in Guatemala, currently San Juan Bautista in Camotan in the diocese of Zacapa, and, since 1998 has served as episcopal vicar for Pastoral Care of that same diocese.
- Msgr. Leonardo Sapienza, S.C.I., regent of the Prefecture of the Pontifical Household, to the College of Apostolic Protonotaries "de numero participantium".

Vatican City, 12 February 2013 (VIS) – The Vatican Information Service begs the pardon of its readers for the errors that may have appeared in yesterday's transmission, due to technical problems caused by the overload of the Vatican servers.


Image for Royal couple visit Northern Ireland
"Mardi Gras" is french for fat tuesday. This refers to the day before Ash Wednesday when the 40 days of Lent officially begins. "Mardi Gras", "Carnival" and "Shrove Tuesday" all involve celebrations of eating, drinking, dancing, etc. before the fasting of Lent. (image source: Some celebrate the "Carnival" by joining in parades with elaborate costumes, festive music, dancing, and other activities.

Kate Middleton: Shrove Tuesday
The english word 'Shrove' refers to confessing of sins for Lent. In parts of Europe the "Shrove Tuesday" is celebrated by flipping pancakes. (image source:
"Carnival" means farewell to meat.
There are many cities world-wide that have historic and magnificent celebrations on this day. The most famous include cities famous for Mardi Gras celebrations Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Trinidad and Tobago, New Orleans (Louisiana), Quebec City (Canada).
Historical roots in Jewish Tradition
The Jews also celebrate the re-dedication of the Temple with Hanukkah. When the re-dedication occurred there was a lighting of the lamps with pure oil that lasted for 8 days. To commemorate this the Jews eat latkes (potato pancakes), made with lots of oil.
8oz all purpose/plain flour
Pinch salt
2 eggs
2½ cups milk
2 tsp melted butter plus melted butter for cooking
Makes 12 pancakes
Sieve the flour into a large baking bowl, add the salt. Make a well in the center of the flour and add the eggs and beat well until smooth and lump free.
Add half the milk and the 2 tsp of butter, beat well. Add the remaining milk and stir.
Leave the batter to rest for 15 minutes.
Lightly grease a pancake pan or frying pan with a little melted butter, heat until very hot and add a ladle of batter to evenly and thinly coat the base of the pan. Cook until set and lightly golden. Flip over (if you are really brave try tossing the pancake in the air, great fun) and cook on the other side for approx 30 seconds.
Remove the pancake from the pan, place on a sheet of kitchen paper and keep warm. Continue as above until all the batter is used up.
Some traditions over the centuries have led to excessive indulgences during this day. Let us keep sober and remember the roots of the Lenten fast when Jesus spent 40 days in the desert. In the Gospels we find the story which is the reason for the fast; when Jesus "was in the desert forty days and forty nights, and was tempted by Satan; and he was with beasts, and the angels ministered to him." (Mark 1:13)


Sad he will resign but grateful for his eight years of selfless leadership
Reached out to religiously threatened in Middle East, poor in Africa, world’s youth
Highlighted value of human life
WASHINGTON—Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued this statement moments after learning of the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI on February 11, 2013.
Statement of Cardinal Timothy Dolan
The Holy Father brought the tender heart of a pastor, the incisive mind of a scholar and the confidence of a soul united with His God in all he did. His resignation is but another sign of his great care for the Church. We are sad that he will be resigning but grateful for his eight years of selfless leadership as successor of St. Peter.
Though 78 when he elected pope in 2005, he set out to meet his people – and they were of all faiths – all over the world. He visited the religiously threatened –Jews, Muslims and Christians in the war-torn Middle East, the desperately poor in Africa, and the world’s youth gathered to meet him in Australia, Germany, and Spain.
He delighted our beloved United States of America when he visited Washington and New York in 2008. As a favored statesman he greeted notables at the White House. As a spiritual leader he led the Catholic community in prayer at Nationals Park, Yankee Stadium and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. As a pastor feeling pain in a stirring, private meeting at the Vatican nunciature in Washington, he brought a listening heart to victims of sexual abuse by clerics.
Pope Benedict often cited the significance of eternal truths and he warned of a dictatorship of relativism. Some values, such as human life, stand out above all others, he taught again and again. It is a message for eternity.
He unified Catholics and reached out to schismatic groups in hopes of drawing them back to the church. More unites us than divides us, he said by word and deed. That message is for eternity.
He spoke for the world’s poor when he visited them and wrote of equality among nations in his peace messages and encyclicals. He pleaded for a more equitable share of world resources and for a respect for God’s creation in nature.
Those who met him, heard him speak and read his clear, profound writings found themselves moved and changed. In all he said and did he urged people everywhere to know and have a personal encounter with Jesus Christ.
The occasion of his resignation stands as an important moment in our lives as citizens of the world. Our experience impels us to thank God for the gift of Pope Benedict. Our hope impels us to pray that the College of Cardinals under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit choose a worthy successor to meet the challenges present in today’s world.


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese, 12 Feb 2013 Cardinal Pell talks to Communications Director of the Archdiocese of Sydney, Katrina Lee, about the Holy Father's decision to leave the papacy; his legacy; his leadership and writings; the process from now and if a new pope will introduce a new era in the Church. -


‘We want to remain inspired by the significant theology of Pope Benedict XVI for the future of our Church.’

Following the announcement of the resignation of the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, COMECE President Cardinal Marx issued the following statement:

unknownToday, Pope Benedict XVI has announced his intention to resign on 28 February next. As COMECE President, this decision fills me with great respect but also with huge regret. Benedict XVI has been leading the world Church for eight years with immense dedication and shaped her with his clear theology in a crucial way. His theological thinking, always bringing together Faith and Reason, Church and Politics, has earmarked his groundbreaking theological and philosophical Speeches in Westminster-Hall in London, in the German Bundestag as well as in Washington.

He has always been deeply preoccupied by the danger of Europe forgetting its Christian roots and eventually loosing its soul. Europe, and the West as a whole, cannot be imagined without the contribution of Christianity. This contribution cannot only consist in criticising developments in our societies and depicting the future in dark colours. It must certainly always be our prophetic task. But more than that, it involves announcing the universal message of the Gospel, which is a message of hope, in the concrete situation of Europe.

We are grateful for his action full of blessings as Head of the Catholic Church as we look back to our many precious meetings with him during the time of his pontificate. We intend to remain inspired by the significant theology of Pope Benedict XVI for the future of our Church. We, as COMECE Bishops are with him in our prayers. In his retirement, we will remain in spiritual communion with him.“



by Eugenia Zhang
News of the Pope’s resignation provokes "shock" and "disbelief". China and the territory pray for his health. Card. Tong asks for prayers for Pope Benedict XVI and the future pope. John Tong will be the first Hong Kong Cardinal to participate in a conclave.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - After a moment of "disbelief", the Catholics of Hong Kong and mainland China have decided to launch public and private moments of prayer for the Pope and the election of the new pope.

News of the Pope's resignation arrived in the Chinese world in the middle of the festivities for the Lunar New Year. Hong Kong government offices are closed until February 13. Yesterday, however, the Office of Social Communications of the diocese issued a statement. It highlights the "heavy heart" with which the diocese has accepted news of Benedict XVI's resignation, because of his failing strength.

The Pope's resignation will be effective from February 28 at 20 hours (CET). "Today - the press release states- is the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, the universal Church will pray for the sick, and let us pray for the Holy Father".

The statement recalled that the card. John Tong of Hong Kong asks all Catholics in the diocese to pray in a special way for the election of the new pope. "This is the Year of Faith, and Catholics ought to show their faith and trust in the Almighty that God will continue to guide and bless the Church to overcome all kinds of difficulties".

Notices for places and times for public meetings of prayer will be published as soon as possible.

In Mainland China, Catholics told AsiaNews that they were shocked by the news and could not believe it was true in the beginning. But a Catholic said: "We thank the Pope for serving the Church so long. We'll pray for his health."

A priest said: "This pope is a great example for all, as his act of stepping down has taught us the meaning of sacrifice and emptiness of power. One can give up power, to be like Christ to sacrifice for others to overcome death in order to live".

Card. Tong will be the first Chinese cardinal in Hong Kong to participate in a conclave. At 73, he will be one of the cardinal electors of the future pope in the conclave to be held in March. Card. Tong received his red hat from Benedict XVI on January 6, 2012. He was also named as one of the presidents of the Synod on the New Evangelization, held in the Vatican last October.

Card. Joseph Zen, bishop emeritus of Hong Kong, has just turned 81 years of age. He may participate in meetings preceding the conclave, which reflects on the needs of the Church and on the quality of the future pope, but he does not have the right to votw and can not participate in the conclave.



Mark 7: 1 - 13

1 Now when the Pharisees gathered together to him, with some of the scribes, who had come from Jerusalem,
2 they saw that some of his disciples ate with hands defiled, that is, unwashed.
3 (For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they wash their hands, observing the tradition of the elders;
4 and when they come from the market place, they do not eat unless they purify themselves; and there are many other traditions which they observe, the washing of cups and pots and vessels of bronze.)
5 And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, "Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with hands defiled?"
6 And he said to them, "Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, `This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me;
7 in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.'
8 You leave the commandment of God, and hold fast the tradition of men."
9 And he said to them, "You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God, in order to keep your tradition!
10 For Moses said, `Honor your father and your mother'; and, `He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him surely die';
11 but you say, `If a man tells his father or his mother, What you would have gained from me is Corban' (that is, given to God) --
12 then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother,
13 thus making void the word of God through your tradition which you hand on. And many such things you do."





Paragraph 2 of canon 332 of the Code of Canon Law, we read: 'Should it happen that the Roman Pontiff resigns from his office, it is required for validity that the resignation be freely made and properly manifested, but it is not necessary that it be accepted by anyone.' The two fundamental points are, therefore, freedom and due manifestation. Freedom and public manifestation, and the consistory in which the Pope manifested his will is public."
"Benedict XVI will continue to fully carry out his functions and his service until 28 February at 8:00pm. From that moment on the situation of Sede Vacante will begin, regulated, from a legal and canonical standpoint, by the texts referring to Sede Vacante in the Code of Canon Law and the Apostolic Constitution 'Universi dominici gregis' by John Paul II, regarding the Sede Vacante of the Apostolic See."
It will soon be eight years since 19 April 2013, the day that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, dean of the College of Cardinals, was elected as Supreme Pontiff, the 264th successor of Peter, and chose the name Benedict XVI.
When a new Pope is elected the words: Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum;
habemus Papam;" are used.
The conclave to elect the successor of Benedict XVI will be regulated by the "Ordo Rituum Conclavis" established by John Paul II's apostolic constitution "Universi Dominici Gregis", para. 27. The Cardinal Camerlengo, who has a fundamental role during the Sede Vacante period, is Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, appointed by Benedict XVI on 4 April 2007.
The Cardinal electors, by their continents of provenance, will be 61 Europeans, 19 Latin Americans, 14 North Americans, 11 Africans, 11 Asians, and 1 from Oceania. These figures may vary depending on the date that the conclave opens: for example, Cardinal Walter Kasper will turn 80 on 5 March. The country with the greatest number of Cardinal electors is Italy, with 21. Sixty-seven of the electors were created by Benedict XVI and the remaining 50 by John Paul II.
The Cardinals will be housed in the Vatican residence Casa Santa Marta, which is independent from the place where they vote, the Sistine Chapel.
The Cardinal electors must remain in the Vatican during the entire period of conclave, and no one can approach them when they move from the Sistine Chapel to their place of residence or vice versa. All forms of communication with the outside world are prohibited. As in the past, the Sistine Chapel stove will be used to burn the ballots after each vote.

Q. What is a cardinal?

A cardinal is one of a group of advisors to the pope most recognizable by their bright red—or scarlet—vestments. In most cases, a cardinal is either a Vatican official or the head of a major diocese. The cardinals of the Catholic Church are collectively known as the College of Cardinals, whose members are selected exclusively by the pope. They occupy a special place of honor in the Church, are addressed as “Your Eminence,” and are sometimes referred to as “princes of the Church.” A cardinal is also officially a member of clergy of Rome (and therefore someone who could be elected bishop of Rome). Therefore, when a cardinal is named, he takes possession of a titular church in Rome.

Q. What are the duties of a cardinal?

A. Cardinals advise the pope and do so when gathered in Rome for consistories (where new cardinals are also created) and Synods of Bishops. Numerous cardinals also advise the pope in their roles as heads of the various Congregations and Pontifical Councils that comprise the Roman curia (the bureaucracy of the Vatican). The most solemn duty of a cardinal is to participate in a conclave, the election of a new pope. When a cardinal turns 80, he ceases to be a member of all departments within the Roman curia and loses his right to vote in a conclave; he remains a member of the College of Cardinals. Pope Paul VI put this rule in place in 1970.

Q. How many cardinals are there in the Catholic Church?

A. Including those elevated by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012, there are 213 cardinals in the Catholic Church, of whom 125 are under the age of 80 and therefore eligible to vote in a conclave. The size of the College of Cardinals has varied through the centuries, capped at 70 from the 16th Century till Blessed John XXIII expanded it and Paul VI reset the limit of cardinals who can participate in a conclave at 120 in 1973. Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI have temporarily surpassed this limit immediately following the intake of new members into the College of Cardinals.

Q. How many Americans are cardinals?

A. With the 2012 appointees included, there are 18 Americans in the College of Cardinals. Five U.S. cardinals head U.S. archdioceses: Cardinal Francis George (Chicago), Cardinal Sean O’Malley (Boston), Cardinal Daniel DiNardo (Galveston-Houston), Cardinal Donald Wuerl (Washington), and Cardinal Timothy Dolan (New York). Three U.S. cardinals are Vatican officials: Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith; Cardinal Raymond Burke, prefect of the Apostolic Signatura; and Cardinal Edwin O’Brien, grand master of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. Ten U.S. cardinals are retired: Cardinal William Baum (major penitentiary emeritus), Cardinal Edward Egan (emeritus, New York), Cardinal William Keeler (emeritus, Baltimore), Cardinal Bernard Law (archpriest emeritus of the Basilica of St. Mary Major), Cardinal Roger Mahony (emeritus, Los Angeles), Cardinal Adam Maida (emeritus, Detroit), Cardinal Theodore McCarrick (emeritus, Washington), Cardinal Justin Rigali (emeritus, Philadelphia), Cardinal James Stafford (major penitentiary emeritus), and Cardinal Edmund Szoka (former president of the Pontifical Council for Vatican City).

Q. How many U.S. cardinals are eligible to vote in a conclave?

A. As of February 2012, 12 U.S. cardinals – Burke, DiNardo, Dolan, Egan, George, Levada, Mahony, O’Brien, O’Malley, Rigali, Stafford, and Wuerl – are under the age of 80 and therefore eligible to vote in a conclave. Americans comprise the second largest national voting bloc in the College of Cardinals, behind Italy.

Q. How many cardinals has Pope Benedict named?

A. In his almost seven years as pope, Benedict XVI has named 89 new cardinals, 63 of whom are currently under 80. As 124 of the 213 living cardinals are currently under 80, this means, as of 2012, Pope Benedict has named just over half the cardinals who will elect his successor.

Q. How many Americans has Pope Benedict made cardinals?

A. Pope Benedict XVI has elevated two Americans to the College of Cardinals at each of the four consistories held in his pontificate, for a total of eight. In fact, the first cardinal elevated by Pope Benedict (his “first creation,” a special honor) was Cardinal William Levada in 2006. Cardinal Levada is prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the job held by Pope Benedict prior to his election. The other Americans named by this pope are: Cardinal O’Malley (2006), Cardinal DiNardo and the late Cardinal John Foley (2007), Cardinals Wuerl and Burke (2010), and Cardinals Dolan and O’Brien (2012).

Q. Does a cardinal have to be a bishop?

A. Canon 351 of the Code of Canon Law states that the pope freely selects cardinals from among men who have been ordained priests and that “those who are not yet bishops must receive episcopal consecration.” There have, however, been exceptions, such as in 2001 when Pope John Paul II elevated 82-year-old U.S. Jesuit Father Avery Dulles to the College of Cardinals. Cardinal Dulles requested a dispensation from the episcopacy, which the pope allowed, meaning he simply remained a Jesuit priest. As he was made a cardinal after his 80th birthday, Cardinal Dulles was never eligible to vote in a conclave. John XXIII made the rule that all cardinals must be bishops. The 1918 Code of Canon Law stated that all cardinals must be priests. Prior to that time, deacons and laypeople could also be cardinals, though the last lay cardinal was named in the 19th Century.

Sources: The 2012 Catholic Almanac and USCCB archives

Following is a brief explanation of the process used in a conclave to elect a new pope.

Q: Who governs the church until a new pope is elected?

A: Day-to-day operations are handled by the Vatican curia, the central bureaucracy. All prelates who head Vatican agencies resign after the death of a pope. Provisions are made to oversee the papal household, the spiritual needs of Romans and to grant absolutions.

Q: What does the word "conclave" mean?

A: The word comes from the Latin, "with a key," referring to the tradition of locking the doors until cardinals elect a winner.

Q: Who is eligible to be elected pope?

A: Technically, any baptized male Catholic is eligible but since 1378, new popes have come from within the College of Cardinals.

Q: Who sets the rules for how a pope is elected?

A: A 1996 document by Pope John Paul II, "Universi Dominici Gregis," lays out the framework for the conclave. Other details and traditions have evolved over time.

Q: What language is used in a conclave?

A: Traditionally, Latin has been the lingua franca of the church. However, with a global church, Latin has fallen away. While some details already call for Latin – "extra omnes!" (all out!) is used to shoo everyone out of the Sistine Chapel – others will likely be replaced by Italian, Spanish, English or any of the above.

Q: Does a conclave ever convene for any other reason?

A: No. Any pope can call together cardinals for advice or any other purpose, but a conclave is only used to elect a pope.

Q: Who may participate in a conclave?

A: There are 117 cardinals who are under the age of 80 and thus eligible to participate in the conclave. Older retired cardinals may participate in discussions leading up the conclave but may not vote. Two cardinals were absent from the conclave because of illness.

Q: Are women or laypeople involved?

A: Outside of cooks or housekeepers, no. Only cardinals – who by definition are male priests – may participate.

Q: Who are the Canadians who will participate?

A: There are three Canadian cardinals who are eligible to participate. They are:

  • Cardinal Marc Ouellett, the Archbishop of Quebec
  • Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte, the Archbishop of Montreal
  • Cardinal Aloysius Matthew Ambrozic, the Archbishop of Toronto

Two other Canadian cardinals are too old to vote.

Q: Is the conclave open to the public?

A: Absolutely not. The voting is conducted behind closed-doors under the tightest security. The conclave is closed to allow the cardinals to cast their votes without outside influence or pressure. Anyone associated with the conclave must take a vow of secrecy.

Q: Where is the conclave held?

A: Voting is held inside the Sistine Chapel, under Michelangelo's famous ceiling. Cardinals will stay in the Casa Santa Marta, a $20-million hotel-style residence inside the Vatican walls built by Pope John Paul II. Cardinals may not leave the Vatican grounds until a conclave concludes.

Q: What are the factors likely to influence the voting?

A: Officially, the church says only the Holy Spirit will influence the results. But church watchers say a new pope will win based on several criteria: age, nationality, life experience, personality, and positions on major issues facing the church.

Q: Are overt campaigning or backroom deals allowed?

A: After the death of a pope, discussions prior to the conclave are expected, but campaigning is discouraged. Paper ballots are cast in silence, leaving discussions and arguments to be held outside the Sistine Chapel. Alliances are natural, but cardinals are forbidden to buy votes or make deals; John Paul II said his successor would not be bound by promises made prior to the election.

Q: When does the voting occur?

A: The first ballot may be held on the first afternoon of the conclave following morning Mass. After that, there are two ballots in the morning and two ballots in the afternoon until a pope is elected.

Q: How long does the voting continue?

A: Ballots are cast until a winner receives the necessary two-thirds majority. After three days of unsuccessful balloting, cardinals take a break and resume after a short spiritual talk. Voting then continues for another seven votes, followed by another break, and an additional round of seven votes. After about 30 ballots or about 12 days, the cardinals may vote to waive the two-thirds requirement and elect a pope with an absolute majority.

Q: Who counts the ballots?

A: The conclave features elaborate voting and vote-counting procedures to prevent fraud. Cardinals are selected by lot to count and double-count the ballots and collect votes from sick cardinals.

Q: How does a cardinal become pope once he is elected?

A: Simply by answering "I accept" to the question, "Do you accept your canonical election as supreme pontiff?" (In the unlikely event that the new pope is not already a bishop, he must first be consecrated a bishop by the cardinals.)

Q: Can a pope refuse his election?

A: Technically, yes, although it has been centuries since any cardinal has done so. In 1271, St. Philip Benizi fled the conclave and hid until another man was elected. St. Charles Borromeo declined election in the 16th century, and Cardinal Robert Bellarmine did the same in the 17th century.

Q: How does a pope choose his papal name?

A: Simply put, he takes whatever name he chooses. There is no law that mandates a new name, but the practice has been standard for about the last 1,000 years. Some honour a favorite saint or a beloved pope. Others honour their predecessors – John Paul II followed John Paul I, who succeeded Paul VI and John XXIII. The only name that is sacrosanct is Peter, the first pope.

Q: What does the white smoke mean?

A: Ballots are burned in a special stove, whose chimney is visible to onlookers in St. Peter's Square. Black smoke means there is no winner; white smoke means a new pope has been elected. The only record of the voting is a document prepared at the end of the election. It is given to the new pope and placed in a sealed envelope in the archives, only to be opened with papal permission.

Q: How does the world know a new pope is elected?

A: After white smoke swirls up for the chimney, a senior cardinal will announce from the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica, "Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum. Habemus papam" – "I announce to you news of great joy. We have a pope."

Q: What is the new pope's first official act?

A: By tradition, after changing into his white papal vestments, the pope delivers his first "urbi et orbi" blessing to the city of Rome and the world.

Q: What are the official ceremonies following the election?

A: About a week after his election, the new pope will celebrate his installation Mass inside St. Peter's. The new pope will also take possession of his cathedral, St. John Lateran, as bishop of Rome.

SHARED FROM 2005 Religion News Service


Cardinal Walter Kasper turns 80 March 5; depending on the date of the conclave, he might be over 80, and thus too old to vote in a conclave. The next oldest, Cardinal Severino Poletto of Turin, Italy, turns 80 March 18.

– Walter Kasper, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. — Severino Poletto of Turin, Italy.

– Juan Sandoval Iniguez of Guadalajara, Mexico.

– Godfried Danneels of Mechelen-Brussels.

– Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa of Santiago de Chile.

– Raffaele Farina, retired head of the Vatican Secret Archives and the Vatican Library.

– Geraldo Majella Agnelo of Sao Salvador da Bahia, Brazil.

– Joachim Meisner of Cologne, Germany.

– Raul Vela Chiriboga of Quito, Ecuador.

– Giovanni Battista Re, former prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

– Giovanni Battista Tettamanzi of Milan.

– Francesco Monterisi, retired secretary of the Congregation for Bishops.

– Claudio Hummes, retired prefect of the Congregation for Clergy.

– Carlos Amigo Vallejo of Seville, Spain.

– Paolo Sardi, a former official in the Vatican Secretariat of State.

– Paul Josef Cordes, past president of Cor Unum.

– Franc Rode, retired prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.

– Tarcisio Bertone, secretary of state.

– Julius Darmaatmadja, Jakarta, Indonesia.

– Jean-Baptiste Pham Minh Man, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

– Giovanni Lajolo, former president of the commission governing Vatican City State.

– Antonios Naguib, Alexandria, Egypt.

– Justin Rigali of Philadelphia.

– Velasio De Paolis, papal delegate overseeing reform of the Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi.

– Santos Abril Castello, archpriest of Basilica of St. Mary Major.

– Jose da Cruz Policarpo, Lisbon, Portugal.

– Roger Mahony, retired archbishop of Los Angeles.

– Julio Terrazas Sandoval of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia.

– Ivan Dias, former prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

– Karl Lehmann of Mainz, Germany.

– William Joseph Levada, retired prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

– Anthony Olubunmi Okogie of Lagos, Nigeria.

– Jean-Claude Turcotte of Montreal.

– Antonio Maria Rouco Varela of Madrid.

– Jaime Ortega Alamino of Havana.

– Nicolas Lopez Rodriguez of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

– Ennio Antonelli of Florence, Italy.

– Theodore-Adrien Sarr of Dakar, Senegal.

– Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

– Francis George of Chicago.

– Audrys Juozas Backis Vilnius, Lithuania.

– Raymundo Damasceno Assis of Aparecida, Brazil.

– Attilio Nicora, president emeritus of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See.

– Lluis Martinez Sistach of Barcelona, Spain.

– Antonio Maria Veglio, president of the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers.

– Paolo Romeo of Palermo, Italy.

– Francesco Coccopalmerio, president of the Pontifical Council for Interpreting Legislative Texts.

– Keith O’Brien of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, Scotland.

– Manuel Monteiro de Castro, head of the Apostolic Penitentiary.

– Carlo Caffarra, of Bologna, Italy.

– Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes.

– Edwin F. O’Brien, grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre.

– Stanislaw Dziwisz of Krakow, Poland.

– John Tong Hon of Hong Kong.

– Sean Brady of Armagh, Northern Ireland.

– Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya of Kinshasa, Congo.

– Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education.

– Telesphore Toppo, of Ranchi, India.

– Bechara Rai, Maronite patriarch.

– Agostino Vallini, papal vicar for Rome.

– Donald W. Wuerl of Washington.

– Gabriel Zubeir Wako of Khartoum, Sudan.

– Wilfrid F. Napier of Durban, South Africa.

– George Pell of Sydney.

– Angelo Scola of Milan.

– Norberto Rivera Carrera of Mexico City.

– Jorge Urosa Savino of Caracas, Venezuela.

– Ruben Salazar Gomez of Bogota, Colombia.

– Giuseppe Bertello, president of the Governorate of Vatican City State.

– Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture.

– Andre Vingt-Trois of Paris.

– Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

– Angelo Bagnasco of Genoa, Italy.

– Domenico Calcagno, president of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See.

– Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

– George Alencherry of Ernakulam-Angamaly, major archbishop of Syro-Malabar Catholic Church.

– Dominik Duka of Prague, Czech Republic.

– Crescenzio Sepe of Naples, Italy.

– Giuseppe Versaldi, president of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See.

– Angelo Comastri, archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica.

– Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches.

– Juan Cipriani Thorne of Lima, Peru.

– John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan of Abuja, Nigeria.

– Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

– Sean Patrick O’Malley of Boston.

– Polycarp Pengo of Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania.

– Mauro Piacenza, prefect of the Congregation for Clergy.

– Jean-Pierre Ricard of Bordeaux, France.

– Oswald Gracias of Mumbai, India.

– John Njue of Nairobi, Kenya.

– Christoph Schonborn of Vienna.

– Robert Sarah, president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum.

– Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

– Vinko Puljic of Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina.

– Llovera Antonio Canizares, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments.

– Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

– Thomas C. Collins of Toronto.

– Giuseppe Betori of Florence, Italy.

– Joao Braz de Aviz, prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.

– Albert Malcom Ranjith of Colombo, Sri Lanka.

– Raymond L. Burke, prefect of the Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signature.

– Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

– Francisco Robles Ortega of Guadalajara, Mexico.

– Josip Bozanic of Zagreb, Croatia.

– Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston.

– Odilo Pedro Scherer of Sao Paulo.

– James M. Harvey, archpriest of the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls.

– Kazimierz Nycz of Warsaw, Poland.

– Timothy M. Dolan of New York.

– Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

– Philippe Barbarin of Lyon, France.

– Peter Erdo of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary.

– Willem Jacobus Eijk of Utrecht, Netherlands.

– Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising, Germany.

– Rainer Maria Woelki of Berlin.

– Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, Philippines.

– Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal, major archbishop of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church.