Also on Tuesday, there was still no decision on the beginning of the Conclave in Rome. Five of Cardinals eligible to vote have still not arrived. The date is expected to be set on Wednesday.
Still no date is fixed for the election of a new Pope. A consultation of the Cardinals already gathered in Rome on Tuesday morning, had come to an end without a decision on the beginning of the Conclave, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi reported at a press conference at the Sala Stampa on Tuesday. The decision was expected for Wednesday.
Instead, the Cardinals formulated a telegram to the retired Pope. Therein, they thanked him for his service to the universal Church. In the telegram, that was published by the Vatican, the participants in the preparatory circle for the Conclave expressed the “Gratitude of the whole Church” for Benedict’s “tireless work in the Lord’s wineyard”. “In the end, the members of the College of Cardinals are counting on your prayers for them and the entire Holy Church”, it says in the letter signed by Dean of Cardinal Angelo Sodano.
110 Eligible voters on-site
According to Lombardi, 110 of the expected 115 Cardinals eligible to vote the new Pope have already arrived in Rome. The remaining five, among them the German Cardinal Karl Lehmann, were expected anytime soon. On Tuesday morning, Polish Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski and Cardinal Antonio Rouco Varela from Madrid had taken the oath to comply with the secrecy and the Conclave rules.
Already on Monday, the other present Cardinals had sworn the oath. Each individually stepped forward, put his hand on the Bible and vowed “rigorous secrecy with regard to all matters in any way related to the election of the Roman pontiff,” like defined in the Apostolic Constitution “Universi Dominici Gregis” by John Paul II in 1996.