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.
The pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI. has come to an end. The period of the Sede Vacante (“empty chair”) has officially begun on Thursday 8:00 p.m., and ends with the election of a new Pope.
At exactly 8:00 pm, the door of the Papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, 30 kilometres south of Rome, whereto Benedict had retired on Friday, was closed. Benedict XVI. is now an Emeritus Pope. The Swiss Guard withdrew from Castel Gandolfo. Their mission is to protect the reigning Pope.
At the same time the Cardinal Chamberlain (Camerlengo) of the Roman Church, Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone (78), sealed Benedict XVI’s apartment, on the third floor of the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican, and the elevator that leads there. It is the same ceremony as after the death of a Pope. The rooms remain closed until the election of a successor. Also Benedict’s fisherman’s ring has no function anymore.
“I am only a pilgrim”
Benedict is the first Pope of modern times who resigned from his post.It has yet not been determined When his successor will be chosen. In many countries, there where held commemoration services, for the farewell of the Pope.
As the last public act of his pontificate, Benedict appeared at 5:38 pm on the Loggia of the Palace in Castel Gandolfo outside Rome and greeted the faithful gathered there. He spread the arms and was celebrated with loud cheers, “Benedetto” calls and colorful banners. “I am no Pope any longer, I am simply a pilgrim”, he said, blessing the faithful. And then: “Good night.”
At 8:00 pm, the portal of the residence was closed as a symbolic sign of the end of the pontificate. Once again there were “Viva il Papa” calls and all bells were rung in Castel Gandolfo.
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.
The Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church (“Chamberlain”) is the administrator of the property and the revenues of the Holy See, and is always a Cardinal.
Tarcisio Pietro Evasio Bertone, S.D.B. (born 2 December 1934) currently serves as Cardinal Secretary of State and Camerlengo.
Until a successor Pope can be elected, the Camerlengo serves as acting head of State of the Vatican City. He is not, however, currently responsible for the government of the Catholic Church during a sede vacante. Universi Dominici Gregis placed that task in the hands of the College of Cardinals.
The Camerlengo, though, does keep his office during the sede vacante, as opposed to the rest of the Roman Curia, and functions as the executive director of Vatican operations answerable to the College of Cardinals during an interregnum, primarily to carry out the College’s decisions with regard to arranging the funeral of the late pope and the events leading up to the conclave. The only other person who keeps his office is the Major Penitentiary.
Up until recent times, upon the death of a Pope, it was the duty of the Cardinal Chamberlain to perform a ceremony officially identifying the body of the deceased. Accompanied by the officials of the Apostolic Camera, the Camerlengo approaches the death-bed of the pope. The face of the pope, which had been covered with a white cloth, is revealed. The Camerlengo and all those present kneel in meditation. They rise and the Camerlengo performs the ritual of absolution. The Dean of the College of Notaries reads a document called the ‘Rogito’, the papal equivalent of a death certificate and record of the proccedings of that day. The Fisherman’s Ring is handed over to the Camerlengo by the Papal Maestro di Camera, who is its usual custodian. The ring is shown to the Cardinals present at the First Consistory after the death of the pope, and is defaced in their presence, along with the official papal seal.