Tuesday, 12 March 2013


Vatican City, 12 March 2013 (VIS) – Beginning with the Conclave in 2005, in order to better distinguish the colour of the “fumate” (smoke signalling the election or non-election of a pontiff), a secondary apparatus is used to generate the smoke in addition to the traditional stove in which the Cardinal electors' ballots are burned. This device stands next to the ballot-burning stove and has a compartment where, according to the results of the vote, different coloured-smoke generating compounds can be mixed. The result is requested by means of an electronic control panel and lasts for several minutes while the ballots are burning in the other stove.
For a black “fumata” the chemical compound is made of potassium perchlorate, anthracene, and sulphur. The white “fumata” is a mixture of potassium chlorate, lactose, and rosin. The rosin is a natural amber resin obtained from conifers. Prior to 2005 the black smoke was obtained by using smoke black or pitch and the white smoke by using wet straw.
The stove-pipes of the stove and the smoke-producing device join up and exit the roof of the Sistine Chapel as one pipe leading to the chimney installed on the ridge of the roof, which is visible from St. Peter's Square. To improve the airflow the pipe is pre-heated by electrical resistance and it also has a backup fan.
Source: V.I. S. - Vatican Information Service - www.visnews.org




VENI, Creator Spiritus,
mentes tuorum visita,
imple superna gratia
quae tu creasti pectora.

Qui diceris Paraclitus,
altissimi donum Dei,
fons vivus, ignis, caritas,
et spiritalis unctio.

Tu, septiformis munere,
digitus paternae dexterae,
Tu rite promissum Patris,
sermone ditans guttura.

Accende lumen sensibus:
infunde amorem cordibus:
infirma nostri corporis
virtute firmans perpeti.

Hostem repellas longius,
pacemque dones protinus:
ductore sic te praevio
vitemus omne noxium.

Per te sciamus da Patrem,
noscamus atque Filium;
Teque utriusque Spiritum
credamus omni tempore.

Deo Patri sit gloria,
et Filio, qui a mortuis
surrexit, ac Paraclito,
in saeculorum saecula.

Conclave: biblical scholar to preach meditation to cardinals before voting begins




Conclave: biblical scholar to preach meditation to cardinals before voting begins

The Holy See Press Office has announced that Cardinal Prosper Grech, an 87-year-old biblical scholar whom Pope Benedict created a cardinal in 2012, will preach a meditation to the cardinal electors on the afternoon of March 12, after the conclave has begun but before the first vote is taken to elect the next Pope.
Universi Dominici Gregis, Blessed John Paul II’s 1996 apostolic constitution on the vacancy of the Apostolic See and election of the Roman Pontiff, directs that the cardinals, in their pre-conclave congregations,

shall entrust to two ecclesiastics known for their sound doctrine, wisdom and moral authority the task of presenting to the Cardinals two well-prepared meditations on the problems facing the Church at the time and on the need for careful discernment in choosing the new Pope.

Father Raniero Cantalamessa, the 78-year-old Capuchin Franciscan friar who has served as Preacher to the Papal Household since 1980, preached the first meditation during the second general congregation of the cardinals on March 4. Universi Dominici Gregis states that on the opening day of the conclave, “when the last of the Cardinal electors has taken the oath,”
the Master of Papal Liturgical Celebrations will give the order Extra omnes, and all those not taking part in the Conclave must leave the Sistine Chapel. The only ones to remain in the Chapel are the Master of Papal Liturgical Celebrations and the ecclesiastic previously chosen to preach to the Cardinal electors the second meditation, concerning the grave duty incumbent on them and thus on the need to act with right intention for the good of the Universal Church, solum Deum prae oculis habentes [considering before their eyes God alone].

Born in Malta in 1925 and ordained a priest of the Order of Saint Augustine in 1950, Father Grech helped found the Augustinianum Institute for Patristic Studies. The professor of biblical theology at the Pontifical Lateran University has served as a consultor to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, apostolic visitator of seminaries in India, a member of the Pontifical Theological Academy, and a member of the Pontifical Biblical Commission.
“I think it’s prayer, and certainly not hermeneutics, that is the keystone of the Christian life,” he said in a 2012 interview. “We need to come down off our pedestals, empty ourselves of intellectualism and pride. We need much humility, we need to recite the Rosary and the simplest prayers, like those of popular devotion; one understands there how it is very often the people who hand on faith to the learned.”


French cardinal: don't blame Church alone for sex abuse



French cardinal: don't blame Church alone for sex abuse

Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois of Paris has insisted that sexual abuse of children is not a problem confined to the Church.
Decrying the “fascination” with abuse by Catholic clerics, the French cardinal said that this approach “is an easy way of ridding us of the issue of pedophilia: by putting it on the Church.” That approach, however, “prevents asking the question within society itself,” he said.


The Vatican's 'Room of Tears' is ready for next Pope


The Vatican's 'Room of Tears' is ready for next Pope

This is the so called Room of Tears. It's just a few feet away from the Sistine Chapel, but most importantly, it's where a newly elected Pope wears his Papal white vestment for the first time. Since no one knows exactly who will be elected, the Vatican is prepared.  
Three papal vestments of different sizes are already in the Room of Tears. Also there are three different pairs of red shoes and papal hats, so the next Pope can choose. 

It's called the Room of Tears because the newly elected Pope, overwhelmed by the joy and burden of his new office, is known to shed tears here, just moments after being elected Pope and before introducing himself to the world before St. Peter's balcony.




Vatican City, 11 March 2013 (VIS) – Following is a brief chronology of Conclaves in recent centuries along with interesting facts that occurred during each.
Gregory X

In the entire history of the Church, the longest papal election—taking place in Viterbo, Italy in 1268 and ending with the election of Gregory X—lasted for over two years. It was as a result of this instance that the modern incarnation of the papal Conclave was instituted.

Benedict XIV

In modern history, the longest Conclave was that of 1740, which ended with the election of Benedict XIV. It lasted from 18 February until 17 August, 181 days. Fifty-one cardinals participated in the final ballot, four cardinals having died during the proceedings.

Clement XIII

In 1758, the Conclave that elected Clement XIII lasted from 15 May until 6 July, 53 days. Forty-five cardinals participated, but one was absent at the final ballot, having left the Conclave because of illness.

Clement XIV

In 1769, Clement XIV was elected after 94 days, from 15 February until 19 May. Forty-six cardinals participated in the vote.

Pius VI

Beginning in 1774, the Conclave that elected Pius VI lasted 133 days, from 5 October of that year until 15 February 1775. Forty-six cardinals entered in the Conclave but two of them died during the proceedings.

Pius VII

The Conclave that elected Pius VII took place in Valencia, Spain, since Rome was under occupation by Napoleon’s troops. It lasted from 1 December 1799 until 14 March 1800, 105 days. It was the last Conclave held outside of Rome and 34 cardinals participated.


In 1823, Leo XII was elected after 27 days, 2 September until 28 September, and 49 cardinals participated.


In 1829, the Conclave that elected Pius VIII lasted 36 days, 24 February until 31 March, and 50 cardinals participated.

Gregory XVI

At the Conclave that began in 1831, the last cardinal not to be bishop was elected Pope, Gregory XVI. The Conclave that elected him lasted 51 days, from 14 December 1830 until 2 February of the following year and 45 cardinals participated.

Blessed Pius IX

“Short” Conclaves began to take place from 1846, with the election of Blessed Pius IX. Fifty cardinals elected him Pope in a conclave lasting three days, from 14 to 16 June of that year.


After the longest papal reign, which lasted more than thirty years, the following Conclave also lasted three days, from 18 to 20 February in 1878. Sixty-one cardinals participated in the vote to elect Leo XIII. It's interesting to note that, as his reign was the third longest in papal history, lasting over 25 years, only four of the cardinals that elected him participated in another Conclave. Another interesting fact from this Conclave is that the first American to be created cardinal, Cardinal John McCloskey, archbishop of New York, would have been the first non-European to take part in a papal election but he arrived too late to participate. That honour was to go to Cardinal James Gibbons, archbishop of Baltimore, Maryland at the next Conclave.

St Pius X

In 1903 St. Pius X was elected Pope by 64 cardinals in a Conclave that lasted five days, from 31 July until 4 August, and had 7 ballots. It was the last time that the “Jus Exclusivae” (“right of exclusion” or right to veto a candidate for the papacy claimed by the Catholic monarchs of Europe) was exercised. The Italian Cardinal Mariano Rampolla was vetoed by Franz Joseph I of Austria-Hungary. After his election, St. Pius X abolished the right of heads of state to exercise a veto.

Benedict XV

In 1914, the Conclave that elected Benedict XV lasted four days, from 31 August until 3 September. The 57 participating cardinals had 10 ballots. Three North American Cardinals were locked out of the Sistine Chapel, having arrived too late to enter but it was the first time that a Latin American cardinal participated, Cardinal Joaquim Arcoverde de Albuquerque Cavalcanti, archbishop of Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Pius XI

In 1922, during the Conclave that elected Pius XI, 53 cardinals held 7 ballots over five days, from 2 to 6 February. Two American and one Canadian cardinal were again left out of the Conclave for having arrived too late. After his election, Pius XI established a period of 15 days from the beginning of the Sede Vacante to entering into Conclave in order to allow cardinals enough time to travel to Rome.

Pius XII

In the 1939 Conclave that elected Pius XII, the first patriarch of an Eastern rite participated in the election: His Beatitude Mar Ignatius Gabriel I Tappouni, patriarch of Antioch and all the East of the Syrians. The Conclave, the shortest of the twentieth century, lasted just two days, from 1 to 2 March. The 62 cardinals held 3 ballots.

Blessed John XXIII

In the Conclave of 1958 that elected Blessed John XXIII, cardinals from China, India, and Africa participated for the first time. The Conclave lasted four days, from 25 to 28 October and the 51 cardinals held 11 ballots.

Paul VI

In 1963, the Conclave lasted three days, from 19 to 21 June. The 80 cardinals elected Paul VI after 11 ballots.

John Paul I

In 1978, the Conclave that elected John Paul I was the first in which cardinals over the age of 80 did not participate. The Conclave lasted two days, 25 to 26 August. The 111 Cardinal electors held four ballots.

Blessed John Paul II

In the second Conclave celebrated that year—the reign of John Paul I lasting just 33 days, resulting in the most recent “Year of Three Popes”—Blessed John Paul II was elected by the same 111 Cardinal electors after eight ballots held over three days 14 to 16 October.

Benedict XVI

In 2005, Benedict XVI was elected Pope in the fourth ballot of the Conclave that lasted two days, from 18 to 19 April. The largest number of Cardinal electors ever took part in that election: 115.

The Conclave that begins tomorrow morning, 12 March 2013, will be the first one since 1829 to be held during Lent. One hundred fifteen Cardinal electors will participate.

Source: V.I.S. -Vatican Information Service. www.vis.va

Monday, 11 March 2013

Challenges for the new Pope: Latin America, vital for the future of the Catholic Church


Challenges for the new Pope: Latin America, vital for the future of the Catholic Church

Statistics show that the future of the Catholic Church has a Latin American heart. Almost half of all Catholics in the world are from that region. A fact the new Pope needs to keep in mind.  
The Church is the most esteemed Institution in the continent. The Catholic Church is active in the fight against the exploitation of the poor, illegal commerce, unjust laws against immigrants and the disintegration of the family.   
The challenge is to go beyond Catholicism as simply a cultural factor,  but one that is personal and faith based. 

General Secretariat of the Pontifical Council for Latin America

“The greatest challenge for the Church does not come from the outside. In Latin America the greatest challenge is how the faith is celebrated, how it's lived out, communicated and evangelized.”

The only trip the new Pope will have already set up is to Rio of Janeiro, to lead World Youth Day at the end of July. The trip could very well include stops in different countries.

General Secretariat of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America

“I also hope that within his first year, the new Pope will visit the sanctuary of Our Lady of Guadalupe. She is extremely important as an intercessor for the countries in Latin America, for the countries in North America and as a universal intercessor for the good of the Church.”

In addition, the next Pope needs be attentive to Latin America, so its voice is heard at the Vatican.

General Secretariat of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America

"The new Pope will most likely continue to carry forward the guidelines set forth by Pope Benedict XVI which he entrusted to the Pontifical Commission for Latin America. The goal is to  strengthen the bonds with Latin America and the communion with the churches there. Latin America is extremely important for the Catholic Church since it is composed by 46% of the Catholics around the world.”

Latin America could also lead by example by sharing its common values of family, generosity, sacrifice and their openness in celebrating Christian traditions.  These are common values the new Pope and Successor of St. Peter can count on. 

Cardinal Robert Sarah: The man overseeing the charity works of the Church




Cardinal Robert Sarah: The man overseeing the charity works of the Church

Sixty seven year old, Cardinal  Robert Sarah is from Guinea. Throughout his life he has studied in the Ivory Coast, Guinea, Senegal, Israel and Italy. 

He was ordained at the age of 24. Then when he was 34, John Paul II appointed him Archbishop of Conakry in Guinea, making him the youngest bishop in the Catholic Church. Then at the request of John Paul II, in 2001, he began working as Secretary of the Vatican's Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.   

Since 2010, he has served as the president of the Pontifical Council, Cor Unum, which oversees all the charity work of the Universal Church. But Cardinal Sarah insists, the Church is not like an NGO. 

President, Pontifical Council Cor Unum

“Catholic volunteering is based on our faith in God, which teaches us to give ourselves to others, just as Christ did. So it's not just volunteering for the sake of volunteering. It's about fulfilling a mission, the same mission of Christ of giving oneself to others. This is the main difference between us and a regular NGO.”

Cardinal Robert Sarah speaks French, English and Italian. He has also been the Papal envoy to areas of conflict and great need. He went to Haiti after the massive earthquake and most recently he visited Lebanon to meet with Syrian refugees. 

Cardinal Raymundo Damasceno, Benedict XVI host during trip to Brazil




Cardinal Raymundo Damasceno, Benedict XVI host during trip to Brazil

Raymundo Damasceno Assis is the archbishop of Aparecida in Brazil, one of the most important dioceses in Latin America.    

He was ordained a priest at 29, John Paul II named him archbishop in 2004. He presided CELAM, the governing body for all bishops in Latin America, for four years.  

He also joined Benedict XVI on his first trip to Latin America, to Brazil, in May 2007.   

Archbishop of Aparecida (Brazil)
October 21, 2009

“It's a body of service, of communion between the bishops' conferences in Latin America and the Caribbean. A body that offers help and services according to the needs of each bishop's conference.”

The trip ended up so well that in November 2010, Benedict XVI named him cardinal and in 2011, he was chosen as president of the Brazilian Conference of Bishops. 

Saturday, 9 March 2013





Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic EducationGrand Chancellor of the Pontifical Gregorian University, was born on 11 October 1939 in Bródki, Poland. He was ordained for the Archdiocese of Poznań on 27 May 1963. He worked for three years at Christ the Redeemer Parish in Poznań before earning a doctorate in canon law at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome.

From 1972 to 1999 he worked at the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura as notary, chancellor, Secretary and Prefect. During this time he was one of the seven members of the commission that studied the draft of the 1983 Code of Canon Law with the Pope, and he taught canon law at the Gregorian and Lateran Universities and the Studio Rotale. He was appointed titular Bishop of Agropoli on 21 December 1982 and consecrated 6 January 1983. He was promoted to Archbishop on 16 December 1991.
On 15 November 1999 he was appointed Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education.
He is presently the Grand Chancellor of the Pontifical Gregorian University.
Created and proclaimed Cardinal by the Bl. John Paul II in the consistory of 21 February 2001, of the Title of S. Nicola in Carcere (St. Nicholas in Prison), Deaconry elevated pro hac vice to presbyteral title (21 February 2011).
Member of:
  • Congregations: for the Doctrine of the Faith; for Bishops; for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments; for the Evangelization of Peoples;
  • Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura;
  • Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts;
  • Special Council for Oceania of the Secretariat General of the Synod of Bishops.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Honduran cardinal: Church must be transparent, evangelization comes first


Honduran cardinal: Church must be transparent, evangelization comes first



Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, has said that the Church should continue to root out corruption and abuse “because it is written in the Gospels that the truth shall set you free.”
Speaking to reporters in Rome, the Honduran cardinal said that the work begun by Pope Benedict XVI to purge the Church of “filth” must be continued. “We must present a Church with a transparent face, one that is at peace and at ease,” he said. Speaking separately to Vatican Radio, Cardinal Rodriguez, who is regarded as one of the leading papabili, said that the Church must be prepared to concentrate on the essential task of evangelization. “Pope Paul VI used to say, the Church exists to evangelize,” the cardinal said.




Fr Federico Lombardi, S.J.
Vatican City, 4 March 2013 (VIS) – Early this afternoon Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., director of the Holy See Press Office, informed reporters on the proceedings of the first of the General Congregations of the College of Cardinals. The cardinals' meeting took place this morning at 9:30am in the Synod Hall, which is located above the Paul VI Audience Hall in the Vatican building created by the Italian architect Pier Luigi Nervi.
The Congregation was presided by the  Cardinal Dean  Angelo Sodano
The Congregation was headed by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College, accompanied by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., camerlengo of the Apostolic Camera, and Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary of the Congregation for Bishops. The members of the College took their places following the hierarchical order of precedence: first those belonging to the order of Cardinal-bishops, then the Cardinal-priests, and finally the Cardinal-deacons. Each cardinal has an assigned seat to facilitate the process of voting.
After the opening prayer, “Veni Sancte Spiritus”, followed by the “Adsumus” prayer, Cardinal Sodano greeted those present in Italian, informing them of the procedures related to the Sede Vacante and how the Congregations, regulated by the Apostolic Constitution “Universi Dominici Gregis”, will operate. Following that, technical guidance on the use of microphones and the voting apparatuses was given. The proceedings are being simultaneously translated in five languages: Italian, French, German, Spanish, and English.

There were 142 of the total 207 cardinals present this morning; 103 of those present were Cardinal electors. Expected to arrive this afternoon and tomorrow, therefore, are 63 others including the remaining 12 Cardinal electors. This number—115 Cardinal electors—takes into account the two cardinals who have already indicated that they will not be attending: the archbishop emeritus of Jakarta, Indonesia and the archbishop emeritus of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, Scotland.

The gathered cardinals swore to keep secret the deliberations for the election of the future Pope, after which the Cardinal dean, Angleo Sodano, read the oath in Latin, everyone present reciting along with him. After that, each cardinal, according to their order of precedence came forward and took the oath before a Crucifix and with their hand on the Gospels. This process occupied a good portion of the meeting's time.
H.E. Card. Giovanni Battista Re
Three assistants to the camerlengo were also drawn by lot from the Cardinal electors of each of the orders. As established in No. 7 of “Universi Dominici Gregis”, these three will assist the Cardinal camerlengo for the first three days of the Congregations. Chosen were Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re from the order of bishops, Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe from the order of priests, and Cardinal Franc Rode from the order of deacons. After being chosen these three also took their places next to the Camerlengo at the head table.
Fr Renato Cantalamessa, O.F.M. Cap
According to tradition, it is expected that the preacher of the Pontifical Household, Fr. Raniero Catalamessa, O.F.M. Cap, will give the first meditation to the College of Cardinals early this afternoon.
The Cardinal Dean Angelo Sodano
“During the course of the meeting,” Fr. Lombardi added, “Dean Sodano proposed to the cardinals that, if they sent a message to the Pope emeritus, he would give a written response for one of the following meetings.” The Holy See Press Office Director also commented that the atmosphere was very friendly and that the cardinals took a 45-minute break for coffee and to exchange thoughts.
From 11:45am until 12:30pm, 13 cardinals took the floor to address issues mainly related to the process of the proceedings and the questions to be faced, also bearing in mind the results of the latest Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization.
“You could define this initial encounter,” Fr. Lombardi concluded, “as serene, constructive, and positive.”

Source: V.I. S. - Vatican Information Service - www.visnews.org