Pope may change conclave rules before leaving: Vatican

VATICAN CITY Wed Feb 20, 2013 8:16pm IST

Catholic worshipers hold a decorated picture of the late pope John Paul II as they take part in a night pilgrimage of around 25 km (16 miles) from Blonie to Niepokalanow monastery which is held every month in Blonie, near Warsaw October 13, 2012. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

Catholic worshipers hold a decorated picture of the late pope John Paul II as they take part in a night pilgrimage of around 25 km (16 miles) from Blonie to Niepokalanow monastery which is held every month in Blonie, near Warsaw October 13, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Kacper Pempel

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Benedict may change Church rules governing the conclave where cardinals from around the world will meet next month to secretly elect his successor, the Vatican said on Wednesday.

Benedict was studying the possibility of making changes to two laws established by his predecessor Pope John Paul before he abdicates on February 28, a spokesman said.

The changes may affect the timing of the start of the conclave.

Spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said Benedict was considering making changes that would "harmonise" two documents approved by his predecessor.

One governs the period while the papacy is vacant, known as the "Sede Vacante," and another is more specific about the running of the conclave after it begins.

A 1996 apostolic constitution by Pope John Paul, called "Universi Dominici Gregis," stipulates that a conclave must start between 15 and 20 days after the papacy becomes vacant, meaning it cannot begin before March 15 under the current rules.

Some cardinals believe a conclave should start sooner in order to reduce the time in which the Roman Catholic Church will be without a leader.

Cardinals around the world have already begun informal consultations by phone and email to construct a profile of the man they think would be best suited to lead the Church in a period of continuing crisis.

Some 117 cardinals under the age of 80 will be eligible to enter the conclave, which is held in the Sistine Chapel. (Reporting By Philip Pullella and Naomi O'Leary)

Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

UKRAINE CRISIS

Reuters Showcase

Gaza Violence

Gaza Violence

Shi'ite militia kill dozens of Iraqi Sunnis in mosque shooting.  Full Article 

Fighting Ebola

Fighting Ebola

WHO warns of "shadow zones" and unreported Ebola cases.  Full Article 

Rising Toll

Rising Toll

Documented death toll in syria war at least 191,369 through April 2014 - U.N.  Full Article 

Tensions Ease

Tensions Ease

National Guard begins pullout from riot-weary Ferguson, Missouri.  Full Article 

Journalist's Murder

Journalist's Murder

U.N. Security Council condemns journalist's murder, urges defeat of Islamic State.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage