Press Conferences for 8th and 9th General Congregations of Cardinals

Press Conference on the Eighth and Ninth General Congregations of the College of Cardinals (afternoon of 8 March and morning of 9 March)

Eighth General Congregation

The eighth General Congregation of the College of Cardinals took place on Friday, 8 March, from 5:00pm until 7:00pm. In attendance were 145 cardinals.

Two newly arrived cardinals were sworn in: neither of which is a Cardinal elector: Cardinal Miguel Obando Bravo, S.D.B., archbishop emeritus of Managua, Nicaragua, and Cardinal Gaudencio Borbon Rosales, archbishop emeritus of Manila, Philippines.

The Cardinal Dean proposed a vote on the date to begin the Conclave. As preparations in the Domus Sanctae Marthae and the Sistine Chapel will still be under way, the first proposal was to begin the Conclave on Tuesday, 12 March. The proposal was accepted by overwhelming majority.

The cardinals’ interventions then continued. Fifteen cardinals spoke.

Ninth General Congregation

The ninth General Congregation took place this morning Saturday, 9 March, from 9:30am until 12:30pm.

The Cardinal Dean proposed that the Cardinal electors move into their rooms at the Domus Sanctae Marthae on the morning of 12 March, the day that the Conclave will begin, starting from 7:00am. After a short discussion the proposal was accepted by the majority of Cardinal electors.

Further along in the course of the Congregation, the rooms where each Cardinal elector will reside at the Domus were assigned by lot, in accordance with the provisions outlined in the Apostolic Constitution.

The cardinals’ interventions then continued. Seventeen cardinals spoke. In total, therefore, there have been at least 133 interventions during the course of the General Congregations. Topics included, among other themes previously reported: expectations regarding the new Pope, how to improve the service of the Roman Curia, information regarding wider areas of the Church, etc.

It was communicated to the cardinals that the “Pro eligendo Romano Pontifice” Mass will be concelebrated by all the cardinals at 10:00am on the morning of 12 March, and will be presided over by the Cardinal Dean. They were also informed of the schedule of entry into Conclave that Tuesday afternoon (beginning with a procession from the Pauline Chapel into the Sistine Chapel at 4:30pm) and the general schedule of daily procedures during the Conclave.

This coming Monday, 11 March, the final General Congregation will take place and many cardinals are already signed up to intervene.

During the press conference other information was also given:

Tomorrow, Sunday, various cardinals will celebrate Mass at their titular churches. It will be a beautiful opportunity for them to pray with the people of God at this important moment in the life of the Church.

Monday afternoon at 5:30pm in the Pauline Chapel, all the auxiliary personnel needed to ensure the smooth operations of the Conclave will take the oath of secrecy. Their oaths will be received by the Cardinal Camerlengo.

The Pope’s Ring of the Fisherman—which exists in two forms, the ring itself and as a stamp used to seal documents—as well as two stamps and the master lead seal for papal documents have been destroyed. Their images were scratched out in the form of a cross with a burin (a chisel-like graving tool).

The new Pope’s Ring of the Fisherman will bear the identical image of Peter casting his net, but will have the new pontiff’s name inscribed above the image.

The commission that, under the direction of the Camerlengo, will seal the entrances to the areas of the Conclave and carry out the other operations necessary for the safeguarding of the Conclave was established.

During the course of the morning, the chimney that will release the “fumata” was installed on the roof of the Sistine Chapel.

Vatican Press Office

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