Rome is feverishly awaiting the inauguration of the new Pope Francis I. on Tuesday. Delegations from 132 countries, more than 80 heads of state met on Monday in Rome to attend the service for the enthronement of the Argentine Jorge Mario Bergoglio.
The Holy See maintains diplomatic relations with 179 countries. “We expect that about 250,000 people will attend the divine service,” reported the Vatican spokesman, father Federico Lombardi. The rough estimate of the Roman city administration is that up to one million people could attend. The Vatican is “certainly happy if that many people participate.”
Mugabe once again causes discord
The Italian government already raised the safety precautions up to a maximum, and the city of Rome, which has slightly more than 2.5 million has set all the machinery in motion to cope with the rush of the faithful. Thousands of security forces are on duty to ensure the safety of the heads of State and Government. Drastic restrictions of air traffic over Rome were put into effect. Snipers, bomb experts, dog patrols and motorcycle units are on duty.
The Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who had travelled to Rome despite an EU travel ban, caused polemic. Zimbabwe argues that the Vatican is a sovereign state and therefore not affected by EU travel ban. The EU travel ban against dictator Mugabe applies since 2002. However, the controversial African head of State traveled to Rome in 2005 for the funeral of Pope John Paul II. He also went there in May 2011, to attend the celebrations for the beatification of Pope John Paul II.
Cardinal Angelo Scola from Milan presides over the largest diocese in Europe. He is regarded as a brilliant theologian and acknowledged expert on Islam.
Scola, Archbishop of Milan, and apparently spearhead of the mighty Italian faction in the Conclave, is considered to be one of the hottest candidates for the succession of Benedict XVI. In the past years and decades he has made a name for himself especially in the dialogue with Islam, but also as a brilliant conservative theologian.
Born on November 7 1941, in Malgrate (Province of Lecco – Lombardy), Scola was ordained a priest in 1970. He studied philosophy at the Catholic University in Milan and theology in Fribourg (Switzerland), and taught Theological Anthropology at the Pontifical Lateran University since 1982. In 1991, he received the episcopal consecration. Seven years, from 1995 to 2002, he headed the Lateran University and the Pontifical Institute for Marriage and Family Studies.
In 2002, Scola was appointed Patriarch of Venice, in October 2003 John Paul II. elevated him to Cardinal. Benedict XVI. finally appointed him Archbishop of Milan in 2011, with about five million Catholics, the largest Diocese in Europe.
During the “Sede Vacante”, the College of Cardinals leads the Church. But its powers are limited to tasks and decisions which can not be postponed.
Decrees, issued by the Popes, must not be corrected or changed during this time.The interim administration of the Church is run by the Camerlengo and his three Cardinal assistants. The College of Cardinals prepares in particular the election of the new Pope.
With the beginning of the “Sede Vacante”, the Catholic Church and the Vatican State are temporarily run by the College of Cardinals. The Dean of the College, ex-Cardinal Angelo Sodano (85), invited the 208 cardinals to General congregations in the Apostolic Palace, held daily until the start of the conclave.
115 Cardinals at the Conclave
Since many cardinals already gathered in the Vatican, the meeting will start on Monday. Key task is to determine the start date for the conclave, that could possibly begin on the weekend a few days later. Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said: “As of today, 115 cardinals will be coming to the Vatican to elect a new Pope. Benedict XVI. paved the way for a quick appointment of a date just a few days ago.
The Vatican spokesman, Federico Lombardi, said on Tuesday, that Benedict will be called “His Holiness Benedict XVI., Emeritus Pope”. The pope’s title and what he would wear have been a major source of speculation ever since Benedict stunned the world and announced he would resign on Thursday, the first pontiff to do so in 600 years.
After his resignation on Thursday, Benedict XVI. is to be called “Emeritus Pope” (Papa emerito) or “Roman Pontiff Emeritus” (Romano Pontefice emerito). But one may also address Joseph Ratzinger with the title “Your Holiness”, Lombardi added.
As on how the outgoing Pope should be addressed in the future, had been discussed over and over again. “Emeritus Bishop of Rome” was a hot favourite. Lombardi also said, the 85 Ratzinger will wear a “simple white cassock” after February 28. While he will no longer wear his trademark red shoes, Benedict has taken a liking to a pair of hand-crafted brown loafers made for him by artisans in Leon, Mexico, and given to him during his 2012 visit.
However it remains open, even after the question of the title is apparently resolved, what role the “Emeritus Pope” will play regarding his successor and the Vatican.
Emotional finale of Pope Benedict XVI’s pontificate
Endless joy and cheering by tens of thousands of faithfull as the outgoing Pope Benedict XVI celebrated his farewell in his last Sunday Angelus prayer in St. Peter’s square in Rome. With his retirement from Office, he is complying with Gods wish, said the head of the Roman Catholic Church.The people celebrated the Pope during the Angelus prayer as in the week before with “Viva il papa”-calls and long applause. Benedict’s voice faltered again and again during his speech, and he was interrupted by cheers of the faithful. “Thank you, in prayer we are always close to each other”, Benedict called out. He thanked the pilgrims for their love and sympathy in this “special moment for me and the Church”.
“Continue to serve the Church”
God had called him to devote himself more to meditation and prayer, which did not mean that he was leaving the church, said the 85-year-old. “On the contrary, if God is calling me, it is because I can continue to serve the church with the same dedication and love as before, but in a more appropriate way for my age and my strength,” he said in his speech. With a view to the daily Gospel of the transfiguration of Christ on Mount Tabor, the Pope said that God had called him to “climb that mountain”.
Tens of thousands of people where cheering the outgoing Pope at his penultimate Angelus prayer in Rome. Benedict XVI. denounces arrogance and selfishness and calls for the renewal of the Catholic Church and its members. This is a “spiritual battle against the spirit of evil”.
Rome – great cheers and applause of the crowd at St. Peter’s square when Benedict XVI. showed up on the window of his private study / workroom and waved to the pilgrims. The parting Pope spoke his penultimate Angelus prayer as a church leader, tens of thousands of people attended.
In a short speech Benedict XVI called on the Catholic Church and its members to renew. Church and believers should “turn to God again, in response to arrogance and selfishness”. This means a “spiritual battle, because the spirit of evil is trying to distract us from the path of God,” Benedict said standing at the window of the Apostolic Palace.
“In the decisive moments in life, basically in every single moment, we stand at a crossroads: do we want to follow one’s (own) self or God?” The individual interests or the really good?”
The ANSA news agency reported, citing the Vatican, there were about 50,000 people in St. Peter’s square. “Thank you, that you appeared so numerous”, said Benedict. “This is a sign of affection and the intellectual interests that you show me these days.”
It is not just a resignation from office, but a retreat from the public: Pope Benedict XVI. wants to live isolated in the future and hide from the world. The 85-year-old said when meeting with Roman priests.
The people celebrated the Pope at the Ash Wednesday Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, as it was their last opportunity to pay public tribute to him. You could be right, it might have been one of his last appearances in public. In an meeting with the priests of the Diocese of Rome, where he serves as bishop, he said: “Even though I will retire in prayer, I will be close to you all, and you will be close to me – even if I will hide from this world.
Benedict VXI. had previously been welcomed with warm applause by the Roman priests in the Vatican audience hall. “Thank you, thank you for your affection, for the great love for the Pope,” he said. The conversation with the clergy took about an hour. The head of the church wanted to respond to questions from the parishes of his diocese. The date for the meeting was fixed quite some time ago and had nothing to do with the announced resignation of Benedict on Monday.
Life in the monastery
The Italian newspaper “La Stampa” reported, however, the Pope is said to have come to a final decision to resign during a trip to Mexico and Cuba.
On February 28 Benedict will resign his office. He will fly to the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, just 30 miles from Rome, on that Thursday at 5:00 p.m. in a helicopter. Continue reading →