Conclave for new Pope to begin before March 15
The conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI could start before
March 15 if all the cardinals were already in Rome, the Vatican has
The conclave of 117 cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church is expected to
start between March 15 and 18, about two weeks after Pope Benedict's
resignation on February 28.
Under the church rules, the conclave is to begin between 15-20 days after
the papacy becomes vacant, to give cardinals time for the arrival in Rome.
The cardinals already know the pope's resignation date and can convene in
Rome before March 15, said Vatican spokesperson Father Federico Lombardi.
Pope Benedict, who became the 265th Pope in 2005 following his predecessor
John Paul II's death, announced his resignation due to old age and failing
health on February 11. The last pope to step down before his death was
Gregory XII in 1415.
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