Vatican Press Office Briefing on the Second and Third Meeting of the Congregations of Cardinals

Second Congregation:

The second General Congregation was held in the afternoon, from 5:00pm until 7:00pm, on 4 March. Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM Cap., preacher of the Pontifical Household, gave the first of two meditations which are provided for by the Apostolic Constitution.
An additional five Cardinal electors who had arrived in Rome swore the oath: Cardinal Béchara Boutros Raï, O.M.M., patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites, Lebanon; Cardinal Joachim Meisner, archbishop of Cologne, Germany; Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, archbishop of Berlin, Germany; Cardinal Théodore-Adrien Sarr, archbishop of Dakar, Senegal; and Cardinal Dominik Jaroslav Duka, O.P., archbishop of Prague, Czech Republic.

It was decided that, on Tuesday and Wednesday, the Congregations will only be held in the morning.
Nine members of the College of Cardinals then addressed the gathering.

Third Congregation:

The third General Congregation took place from 9:30am until 12:40pm on the morning of 5 March.

Seven newly arrived cardinals took the oath. Three are Cardinal electors: Antonio María Rouco Varela, archbishop of Madrid; Zenon Grocholewski, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Catholic Education, and Anthony Olubunmi Okogie, archbishop emeritus of Lagos, Nigeria. The other four are cardinals over the age of 80: Cardinal Michael Michai Kitbunchu, archbishop emeritus of Bangkok, Thailand; Cardinal Emmanuel Wamala, archbishop emeritus of Kampala, Uganda; Cardinal Eusébio Oscar Scheid, S.C.I., archbishop emeritus of São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and Cardinal Christian Wiyghan Tumi, archbishop emeritus of Douala, Cameroon. In total there were 148 cardinals present, 110 of whom are Cardinal electors.

There were 11 interventions from Cardinal fathers discussing topics related to: activities of the Holy See and its relations with bishops throughout the world; Church renewal in light of Vatican Council II; the Church’s position and the need for the New Evangelization in today’s world with its diverse cultural environments.

In the 33 interventions that have been given since the beginning of the Congregations, each of the continents has been represented and a wide range of topics has been covered. The Cardinal fathers address the gathering in the order that they have made the request to speak.

Number 37 of the Apostolic Constitution Universi Dominici Gregis was read, with the changes introduced by the recent Motu Proprio, regarding the beginning date of the Conclave.

The Cardinal Dean proposed a text for the telegram to be sent to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI at Castel Gandolfo, which the Congregation approved.

This afternoon, Tuesday, 5 March, work begins in the Sistine Chapel to prepare for the Conclave. It is therefore now closed to the public.

Vatican Press Office

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