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Entries in Pope Benedict XVI (42)

Thursday
Mar142013

Cardinal: Not a 'Dry Eye in the House' at Pope Francis' Election

Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images(VATICAN CITY) -- There was not a "dry eye in the house" at the Sistine Chapel the moment when former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected as the next pope, with the 115 cardinals meeting for the conclave then bursting into applause, according to Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York.

"[It is] a remarkably emotional experience, even though we weren't surprised, because we could see it coming as the votes was tallied, and we see the direction that the Holy Spirit was leading us," Dolan told ABC's Good Morning America on Thursday.  "But, still, the moment he got to the number needed, 77, was wonderfully inspirational.  I don't think there was a dry eye in the house."

Bergoglio, 76, the cardinal from Buenos Aires, Argentina, from now on to be known as Pope Francis, is the first pope ever from the Americas and the first Jesuit pope.

Dolan described how the nature and identity of Jorge Bergoglio was changed and formed into Pope Francis on Wednesday.

"He was a man who just a couple of hours before we were pouring coffee with and walking through the halls of St. Martha and chatting with," he said.  "Now, all of a sudden, he's our holy father, and we're pledging him our love, and our allegiance, and our loyalty and our prayer."

Pope Francis was described as "serene" at the time of his election.

"As it became clear to all of us that he was probably going to be the man, we watched him closely, and he was remarkably at peace," Dolan said.  "He did not seem to be rattled, and did not seem to agonize over things.  He was just a man of resignation."

On his first full day as the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church, Pope Francis was rumored to plan to do something no other pope has had the option of doing for centuries: meet with a predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.  The Vatican said early on Thursday that Pope Francis won't be calling on his predecessor, but would see him another day.

After Bergoglio was chosen by his peers Wednesday, Dolan told reporters Francis expressed a desire to meet with Benedict on Thursday.

"Very touchingly," Dolan said Wednesday, "he said tomorrow -- we knew we were going to have Mass with him in the Sistine Chapel -- he said, 'Is it OK if we have Mass in the afternoon together because in the morning I want to visit former Pope Benedict?' which is very beautiful."

Benedict has retired to Castel Gondolfo, approximately 30 miles away from the Vatican.

Pope Francis opened his first morning as pontiff by praying Thursday morning at Rome's main basilica dedicated to the Virgin Mary.  The coming days will be busy ones for Pope Francis.

The new pope will celebrate a Mass on Thursday at the altar in front of Michelangelo's "Last Judgment" in the Sistine Chapel, as dictated by tradition, and he will pray at Rome's St. Mary Major basilica.

On Friday, he will hold an audience with the cardinals in the Sala Clementina in the Apostolic Palace.

On Saturday, it will be time to meet the media: a morning session with journalists in the Paul VI Audience hall.

Finally, on Sunday, the pope will recite the Angelus from the window of his papal apartment.

The main event, though, will come on Tuesday morning with the new pontiff's installation mass.  The ceremony will take place on the church feast day of St. Joseph, a holiday for many in Rome, and Father's Day in Italy.  Vice President Joe Biden will lead the delegation from the United States.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Mar042013

Cardinals Prepare to Elect a New Pope

GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images(VATICAN CITY) -- Roman Catholic cardinals are scheduled to meet Monday in Rome to begin the process of selecting the next pontiff in the wake of the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.

The meeting will not be the official conclave, but simply a gathering to discuss preparations for the election of the next pope.  The preparations include the installation of a stove in the Sistine Chapel where the cardinals will hold the conclave behind locked doors.  The stove will be used to burn the ballots, with the smoke communicating the election results.

Most Vatican observers say the new pontiff will more than likely be a European because half of the electors involved in the process are from Europe.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb282013

With Pope's Departure, World's Attention Turns to His Successor

Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images(ROME) -- As Pope Benedict XVI flew off from Vatican City on Thursday to start a secluded life at the papal retreat outside Rome, the world's attention turns to who will replace him at the helm of the Roman Catholic Church.

Benedict's successor will be determined at a conclave at the Vatican next month, with the date yet to be determined.  In one of his last acts as pontiff, Benedict issued a decree allowing cardinals to convene the conclave before March 15, the date that would have been required under the old rules.

For many of the faithful, that decision has been a welcomed one -- the sooner a new pope is installed, the less time their church will be leaderless.

"There's a feeling of emptiness," Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos Thursday on Good Morning America.  "There's a somber tone.  We love our pope.  He's our holy father.  There's not only the chair vacant, but there's a vacancy in our hearts."

Dolan is viewed as one of the top contenders to succeed Benedict and one of his colleagues, Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia, on Thursday had nothing but praise for him.

"I think we'll have to let the Holy Father decide that, but you can see that he has many virtues, many gifts," Rigali told Stephanopoulos.

Dolan laughed off the speculation as "incredible."  If history is any guide, Dolan would be an unlikely pick.  There has never been a pope who did not hail from Europe.  But as Rigali noted, conclave is "a very dynamic process" that can prove unpredictable.

"We ask God's help, we listen, and we know that whoever is chosen has to be the choice of two thirds of the cardinals, so it is an experience of learning as we go in," Rigali said.  "Certainly someone may begin with one candidate and end up with another."

Eight years ago, Benedict, dean of the College of Cardinals at the time, was viewed as a strong front-runner entering conclave.  But this time around, Cardinal Wilfrid Napier of South Africa said there "doesn't seem to be that type of favorite."

In an interview with ABC News, Napier said he hopes the next pope comes from a more under-developed part of the world.  Most Catholics, in fact, reside in the southern hemisphere.

"I've got a few people that I've earmarked and they're from all over the globe," he said.  "One of the qualities I'd be looking for is someone who comes from a part of the church where there's vibrancy, there's life, where faith is something living and important and people see it as not just something you tag along with, but something that has meaning in life.  I think that Asia, Africa and Latin America have got such qualities, but there are pockets in Europe and America where similar things are happening."

"There's a nice crop of younger cardinals who I think have got really good leadership qualities and I believe the choice this time around is going to be a lot more widespread than it was last time," he added.

Some of the names garnering buzz in Rome these days as possibilities to become the next pope -- known as "papabili" -- include Cardinals Angelo Scola, Angelo Bagnasco, and Gianfranco Ravasi of Italy; Cardinal Peter Erdo of Hungary; Cardinal Marc Ouellet of Canada; Cardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer of Brazil; Cardinal Leonardo Sandri of Argentina; Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn of Austria; Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea; Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras; Cardinal Luis Tagle of the Philippines; and Dolan.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb282013

Benedict XVI Begins Final Day as Pope

GABRIEL BOUYS,GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images(VATICAN CITY) -- Pope Benedict XVI, the first pontiff to resign in 600 years, will step down on Thursday to lead a secluded life of prayer, far from the grueling demands of the papacy and the scandals that have recently plagued the church.

Benedict, 85, will spend a quiet final day as pope bidding farewell to his colleagues that have gathered in Vatican City to see him depart.  His first order of business Thursday morning is a meeting with the College of Cardinals in the Clementine Hall, a room in the Apostolic Palace, where Angelo Sodano, the dean of the College of Cardinals, is set to speak, but not Benedict.

Despite the historical nature of Benedict's resignation, not all cardinals are expected to attend the event.  With their first working meeting not until Monday, only around 100 cardinals are set to be in Vatican City on Thursday, the Vatican press office said.  Those who are there for Benedict's departure will be greeted by seniority.

In the evening, at 5:00 p.m. local time, Benedict will leave the Vatican palace for the last time to head to Castel Gandolfo, the papal summer residence outside of Rome.  Before his departure, the German-born theologian will say some goodbyes in the Courtyard of San Damaso, inside the Vatican, first to his Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone and then to the Swiss Guards who have protected him as pontiff.

From there, it is a short drive to a heliport for the 15-minute flight via helicopter to Castel Gandolfo, just south of the city.  Benedict will not be alone on his journey; he will be accompanied by members of the Pontifical Household, such as two private secretaries, the head of protocol, his personal physician and his butler.

Once Benedict lands in the gardens at Castel Gandolfo, a group of dignitaries, such as the governor of the Vatican City state Giovanni Bertello, two bishops, the director of the pontifical villas, and the mayor and parish priest.  Off the helicopter and into a car, Benedict will head to the palace that he will call home for the coming months.  From a window of the palace, Benedict will make one final wave to the crowd at the papal retreat.

It is there, at 8:00 p.m., that Benedict's resignation will take effect once and for all.  Once the gates to the residence close, the Swiss Guards will leave Benedict's side for the last time, as their time protecting the pontiff comes to an end.

In his final address to the faithful as leader of the Roman Catholic Church, Benedict on Wednesday said his decision to resign was "the fruit of a serene trust in God's will and a deep love of Christ's Church."  

Before a crowd of hundreds of thousands of people in St. Peter's Square, Benedict said he was "deeply grateful for the understanding, support, and prayers of so many of you, not only here in Rome, but also throughout the world."

The date of the conclave to determine Benedict's successor has yet to be determined.  In one of his last moves as pope, Benedict issued a decree permitting the cardinals to convene the conclave before the March 15 date that would have been required under the old rules.

Benedict is eventually planning to move to a monastery inside Vatican City once work there is finished, but until then, he will call home the palace at Castel Gandolfo.  He will be known as "pope emeritus" and don brown shoes given to him on his trip to Mexico, rather than the red ones he wore as pontiff.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb272013

Pope Benedict XVI Delivers Farewell Address

GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images(VATICAN CITY) -- On his final full day as the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI thanked a huge crowd for respecting his historic decision to step down and told them that God will continue to guide the church.

"The decision I have made, after much prayer, is the fruit of a serene trust in God's will and a deep love of Christ's Church," Benedict said to cheers in his last public words as pope.

Benedict, 85, is the first pope to resign in 600 years.  He told the crowd on Wednesday that he was "deeply grateful for the understanding, support and prayers of so many of you, not only here in Rome, but also throughout the world."

Under sunny skies on this late February day, hundreds of thousands of people flocked to Vatican City to see Benedict make a final lap around St. Peter's Square.  Throughout his eight-year papacy, Benedict has conducted a weekly audience from St. Peter's.

Before delivering his last papal address on Wednesday, Benedict waved to the festive group of supporters as he toured the square in his glass-encased pope mobile.

The conclave to elect Benedict's replacement will start next month at a date yet to be determined.  Benedict issued a decree known as a "motu poprio" that will allow cardinals to convene the conclave sooner than the March 15 date that would have been mandated under the old rules.

Benedict on Wednesday asked the faithful to pray for him and for the new pope.

"My heart is filled with thanksgiving to God who ever watches over his church," Benedict said.

The German-born Benedict, who had appeared frail at times in recent months, seemed more energized in his remarks on Wednesday.  He has said he will devote more time to prayer and meditation after he leaves the papacy.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb272013

What's Next for Pope Benedict XVI?

GABRIEL BOUYS,GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images(ROME) -- The party for the world's most prominent soon-to-be retiree began on Wednesday when Pope Benedict XVI hosted his final audience as pontiff in St. Peter's Square.

More than 50,000 tickets were requested for the event, according to the Vatican, while the city of Rome planned for 250,000 people to flood the streets.

With his belongings packed up, Pope Benedict XVI will spend the night -- his final one as pope -- in the Apostolic Palace.

The pontiff, 85, who is an avid writer, will be able to take his personal notes with him.  However, all official documents relating to his papacy will be sent to the Vatican archives.

On Thursday, Pope Benedict XVI will take his last meeting as pontiff with various dignitaries and the cardinals, said the Rev. Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican Press Office.

While not all of the cardinals are in Rome, it is possible that among the princes of the church saying farewell to the pope could be the man who will succeed him.

Pope Benedict XVI will depart the Vatican walls in the afternoon, taking a 15-minute helicopter ride to Castel Gandolfo, the papal retreat just outside of Rome, where he will live while his new Vatican quarters undergo a renovation.

Around sunset, the pontiff is expected to greet the public for the last time as pope from his window in the palace, which overlooks the small town square.

At 8 p.m. local time, the papal throne will be vacated.  The man known as Pope Benedict XVI for the past eight years will take on a new title: Pope Emeritus.

Along with Benedict's new title, he will still be allowed to wear white, a color traditionally reserved for the pope.

He'll still be called Your Holiness.  However, the Swiss Guards, who are tasked with protecting the pope, will symbolically leave his side at 8 p.m. Thursday.

His Ring of the Fisherman, kissed by thousands of the faithful over the years, will be crushed, according to tradition.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb272013

Cardinal Donald Wuerl: American Pope Would Be Unwise

ABC News(VATICAN CITY) -- Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, on Wednesday argued against electing a pope from the United States because the pontiff would be conflicted about delivering the "spiritual challenge" that a superpower needs from time to time.

Speaking with ABC's Good Morning America co-host George Stephanopoulos in Vatican City on Wednesday, Wuerl also commended the pope's final public address and his historic decision to step down, while discussing the unlikely appointment of a U.S. pope at the upcoming Conclave.

"I think the conventional wisdom, which I think is correct, is a pope from the superpower would probably have a lot going against him when he's trying to present a spiritual message to the rest of the world," Wuerl said.

"The United States is a grand and glorious and great country, but the pope has to be able at times to speak a spiritual challenge, even to the United States," he added.  "So I'm not sure that it would be the wisest thing to have an American Pope."

Wuerl, 72, commended Benedict on his final weekly address, which took place Wednesday from St. Peter's Square in Vatican City.  Benedict, 85, is the first pope to resign in nearly 600 years.

"It was beautiful, it was moving and it really tugs at the heart," Wuerl said.  "But he also reminded us that the church moves on.  It just has to continue his work."

The Vatican said 70 cardinals were present Wednesday, and it is expected that about 100 will be present on Thursday at the meeting with the pope on his last day as pontiff.  The conclave to elect Benedict's replacement will start next month at a date yet to be determined.

Wuerl told GMA about his hope for the next pope.

"I think I would like to see in the successor to Benedict that spiritual quality that keeps focused on the mission of the church which ultimately...is spiritual," he said.  "There are so many challenges today, but the real work of the church is simply to tell people God is with us."

He also said the next pope will have to adapt to the modern world.

"The new pope is going to have to be very attuned to the world, in ways that the old pope never was," he said.  "We have all of this electronic, social media.  The pope is going to have to be immersed in that."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb252013

Can a Voting Cardinal Skip the Papal Conclave?

Franco Origlia/Getty Images(ROME) -- Monday’s announcement by British Cardinal Keith O’Brien that he will not be attending the conclave begs the question: can he refuse to do so?

As of Monday, the pope accepted O’Brien’s resignation as Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh. But O’Brien retains the title of cardinal and is eligible to vote in the conclave.

He made it clear he does not intend to do so.

“I will not join them for this Conclave in person,” O’Brien said in a statement. “I do not wish media attention in Rome to be focused on me -- but rather on Pope Benedict XVI and on his Successor.”

The Vatican has insisted all week that attendance is mandatory. Electing the new pope, officials have said, is one of a cardinal’s most important, most sacred jobs and no “political or worldly issues” should keep him from it.

The issue has come up repeatedly in the context of the church abuse scandal. Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony, Irish Cardinal Sean Brady and others have faced intense pressure in their communities to recuse themselves on moral grounds, amid evidence they covered up for pedophile priests.

President Obama’s outgoing ambassador to the Holy See Miguel Diaz reportedly said yesterday that Mahony should “reflect on the example set by the pope.”

“He certainly has the legal right to vote in the Conclave,” Diaz told Italy’s La Stampa. “But the Pope also had the right to continue as Pope but instead chose to step down.”

To do so would certainly be unusual. During the last conclave Cardinal Bernard Law’s participation was the focus of vehement protests. But he took his place in the Sistine Chapel nonetheless. (Law is now 81, making him too old to vote this year.)

But does canon law allow an eligible cardinal -- such as O’Brien, Mahony or Brady -- not to attend?

The answer appears to be yes, and not just because of medical emergency.

Typically, only cardinals with incapacitating illness are excused from their duties to attend the conclave. Last week Cardinal Julius Darmaatmadja of Indonesia begged for precisely that reason, bringing the number of voting cardinals (under age 80) to 116.

In the past, voting cardinals from remote archdiocese also missed the occasional conclave because of the difficulties of travel. The Vatican adopted the 15-20 day rule, which was in force until Monday, to accommodate American cardinals traveling long distance to get here. (The advent of air travel has obviously made that less of an issue.)

Faced with repeated questions about cardinals embroiled in scandal, Vatican officials have insisted those are the only reasons for cardinal electors to miss an election.

Amended rules issued Monday by Pope Benedict call attention to an article in the Apostolic Constitution Universi Domenici Gregis, the rules governing a papal vacancy and election.

These rules do anticipate the circumstance of a cardinal refusing to take part in a papal election for reasons other than illness.

Under Paragraph 40, there’s this:

If a Cardinal with the right to vote should refuse to enter Vatican City in order to take part in the election, or subsequently, once the election has begun, should refuse to remain in order to discharge his office, without manifest reason of illness attested to under oath by doctors and confirmed by a majority of the electors, the other Cardinals shall proceed freely with the election, without waiting for him or readmitting him.

The paragraph goes on to say if the cardinal leaves for medical reasons -- or “for some grave reason acknowledged as such by the majority of electors” -- and later wants to come back, the conclave must readmit him.

So it appears O’Brien can indeed miss the conclave if he feels he’ll be a distraction. The question now: What about Mahony and Brady?

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb252013

Results of ‘Vatileaks’ Probe for ‘Pope’s Eyes Only’

L'Osservatore Romano Vatican-Pool/Getty Images(ROME) -- Pope Benedict XVI decided to keep secret the contents of an investigative report on the “Vatileaks” scandal, ruling that the only person who will get to see it will be the next pope.

The top secret dossier details the findings of an internal investigation the pope launched last April into the so-called Vatileaks affair, in which Benedict’s former butler leaked confidential documents stolen from the papal chambers.

Italian newspapers have claimed — without attribution — that the investigation revealed a sex and blackmail scandal inside the curia.

The Vatican spokesman Monday underscored that the contents of the dossier are known only to the pope and his investigators, three elderly prelates whom the Italian papers have nicknamed “the 007 cardinals.”

Pope Benedict met Monday with Cardinals Julian Herranz of Spain, Jozef Tomko of Slovakia, and Salvatore De Giorgi of Sicily in a private audience.

According to the Vatican, the pope thanked them for their work and expressed satisfaction with their investigation.

“Their work made it possible to detect, given the limitations and imperfections of the human factor of every institution, the generosity and dedication of those who work with uprightness and generosity in the Holy See,” read a Vatican statement.

The Vatican statement pointedly added: “The Holy Father has decided that the acts of this investigation, known only to himself, remain solely at the disposition of the new pope.”

Many here had expected the investigating cardinals, who are too old to participate in the conclave, would brief the voting cardinals about their findings.

Today Vatican officials clarified the investigating cardinals will be free to discuss their investigation with the other cardinals, as the voting members of the conclave seek to understand the challenges the next pope will face.

But the dossier itself will remain “For the Pope’s Eyes Only.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb252013

Pope Pushes Up Date for Conclave to Choose His Successor

L'Osservatore Romano Vatican-Pool/Getty Images(VATICAN CITY) -- With his resignation set for Thursday, Pope Benedict XVI published a declaration on Monday to allow the College of Cardinals to begin choosing his successor almost immediately after he steps down.

The conclave could start in early March, sidestepping an edict by John Paul II that the election of a new pope should not take place until 15 days after the pontiff has died.

However, given the unusual circumstances leading to this conclave -- Benedict is the first pope to abdicate in nearly 600 years -- it was decided that the cardinals shouldn’t have to wait longer than necessary to find the next leader of the Roman Catholic Church.

Cardinals are already arriving at the Vatican in Rome.  All told, 117 cardinals under the age of 80 will take part in the conclave.

Benedict, 85, announced two weeks ago he was resigning due to his age and health concerns.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio







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