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Monday, February 25, 2013


Vatican City, 25 February 2013 (VIS) – In an unofficial translation of the Apostolic Letter in the form of a Motu Proprio by Holy Father Benedict XVI and dated 22 February, following are a few amendments concerning the election of the Roman Pontiff.

"With the Apostolic Letter De Aliquibus Mutationibus in Normis de Electione Romani Pontificis, issued Motu Proprio in Rome on 11 June 2007, the third year of my Pontificate, I established certain norms which, by abrogating those laid down in No. 75 of the Apostolic Constitution Universi Dominici Gregis, promulgated on 22 February 1996 by my Predecessor Blessed John Paul II, reinstated the traditional norm whereby a majority vote of two thirds of the Cardinal electors present is always necessary for the valid election of a Roman Pontiff.

Given the importance of ensuring that the entire process of electing the Roman Pontiff is carried out in the best possible way at every level, especially with regard to the sound interpretation and enactment of certain provisions, I hereby establish and decree that several norms of the Apostolic Constitution Universi Dominici Gregis, as well as the changes which I myself introduced in the aforementioned Apostolic Letter, are to be replaced by the following norms:

35. "No Cardinal elector can be excluded from active or passive voice in the election of the Supreme Pontiff, for any reason or pretext, with due regard for the provisions of Nos. 40 and 75 of this Constitution."

37. "I furthermore decree that, from the moment when the Apostolic See is lawfully vacant, fifteen full days must elapse before the Conclave begins, in order to await those who are absent; nonetheless, the College of Cardinals is granted the faculty to move forward the start of the Conclave if it is clear that all the Cardinal electors are present; they can also defer, for serious reasons, the beginning of the election for a few days more. But when a maximum of twenty days have elapsed from the beginning of the vacancy of the See, all the Cardinal electors present are obliged to proceed to the election."

43. "From the time established for the beginning of the electoral process until the public announcement that the election of the Supreme Pontiff has taken place, or in any case until the new Pope so disposes, the rooms of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, and in particular the Sistine Chapel and the areas reserved for liturgical celebrations are to be closed to unauthorized persons, by the authority of the Cardinal Camerlengo and with the outside assistance of the Vice-Camerlengo and of the Substitute of the Secretariat of State, in accordance with the provisions set forth in the following Numbers.

During this period, the entire territory of Vatican City and the ordinary activity of the offices located therein shall be regulated in a way which permits the election of the Supreme Pontiff to be carried out with due privacy and freedom. In particular, provision shall be made, also with the help of Prelate Clerics of the Apostolic Camera, to ensure that no one approaches the Cardinal electors while they make their way from the Domus Sanctae Marthae to the Apostolic Vatican Palace."

46 § 1. "In order to meet the personal and official needs connected with the election process, the following individuals must be available and therefore properly lodged in suitable areas within the confines mentioned in No. 43 of this Constitution: the Secretary of the College of Cardinals, who acts as Secretary of the electoral assembly; the Master of Papal Liturgical Celebrations with eight Masters of Ceremonies and two Religious attached to the Papal Sacristy; and an ecclesiastic chosen by the Cardinal Dean or by the Cardinal taking his place, in order to assist him in his duties."

47. "All the persons listed in Nos. 46 and 55 § 2 of this Constitution who in any way or at any time should come to learn anything from any source, directly or indirectly, regarding the election process, and in particular regarding the voting which took place in the election itself, are obliged to maintain strict secrecy with all persons extraneous to the College of Cardinal electors: accordingly, before the election begins, they shall take an oath in the form and using the formula indicated in the following number."

48. "At a suitable time before the beginning of the election, the persons indicated in Nos. 46 and 55 § 2 of this Constitution, having been duly warned about the meaning and extent of the oath which they are to take, shall, in the presence of the Cardinal Camerlengo or another Cardinal delegated by him, and of two Pronotaries Apostolic de Numero Participantium, swear and sign the oath according to the following formula:

I, N.N., promise and swear that, unless I should receive a special faculty given expressly by the newly-elected Pontiff or by his successors, I will observe absolute and perpetual secrecy with all who are not part of the College of Cardinal electors concerning all matters directly or indirectly related to the ballots cast and their scrutiny for the election of the Supreme Pontiff.

I likewise promise and swear to refrain from using any audio or video equipment capable of recording anything which takes place during the period of the election within Vatican City, and in particular anything which in any way, directly or indirectly, is related to the process of the election itself.

I declare that I take this oath fully aware that an infraction thereof will incur the penalty of automatic (‘latae sententiae’) excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See.

So help me God and these Holy Gospels which I touch with my hand."

49. "When the funeral rites for the deceased Pope have been celebrated according to the prescribed ritual, and everything necessary for the regular functioning of the election has been prepared, on the day appointed in accordance with the provisions of No. 37 of the present Constitution for the opening of the Conclave, all Cardinals shall meet in the Basilica of Saint Peter's in the Vatican, or elsewhere, should circumstances warrant it, in order to take part in a solemn Eucharistic celebration with the Votive Mass Pro Eligendo Papa. This celebration should preferably take place at a suitable hour in the morning, so that in the afternoon the prescriptions of the following Numbers of this Constitution can be carried out."

50. "From the Pauline Chapel of the Apostolic Palace, where they will assemble at a suitable hour in the afternoon, the Cardinal electors, in choir dress, and invoking the assistance of the Holy Spirit with the chant of the Veni Creator, will solemnly process to the Sistine Chapel of the Apostolic Palace, where the election will be held. The Vice-Camerlengo, the Auditor General of the Apostolic Camera and two members of each of the Colleges of Protonotaries Apostolic de Numero Participantium, of Prelate Auditors of the Roman Rota and of Prelate Clerics of the Apostolic Camera will take part in the procession."

51 §2. "It will therefore be the responsibility of the College of Cardinals, operating under the authority and responsibility of the Camerlengo, assisted by the Particular Congregation mentioned in No. 7 of the present Constitution, and with the outside assistance of the Vice-Camerlengo and of the Substitute of the Secretariat of State, to make all prior arrangements for the interior of the Sistine Chapel and adjacent areas to be prepared, so that the orderly election and its privacy will be ensured."

55 § 3. "Should any infraction whatsoever of this norm occur, those responsible should know that they will incur the penalty of automatic (latae sententiae) excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See."

62. "Since the forms of election known as per acclamationem seu inspirationem and per compromissum are abolished, the form of electing the Roman Pontiff shall henceforth be per scrutinium alone.

I therefore decree that for the valid election of the Roman Pontiff at least two thirds of the votes are required, calculated on the basis of the total number of electors present and voting."

64. "The voting process is carried out in three phases. The first phase, which can be called the pre-scrutiny, comprises: 1) the preparation and distribution of the ballot papers by the Masters of Ceremonies – they will have been readmitted in the meantime, together with the Secretary of the College of Cardinals and the Master of Papal Liturgical Celebrations – who give at least two or three to each Cardinal elector; 2) the drawing by lot, from among all the Cardinal electors, of three Scrutineers, of three persons charged with collecting the votes of the sick, called for the sake of brevity Infirmarii, and of three Revisers; this drawing is carried out in public by the junior Cardinal Deacon, who draws out nine names, one after another, of those who shall carry out these tasks; 3) if, in the drawing of lots for the Scrutineers, Infirmarii and Revisers, there should come out the names of Cardinal electors who because of infirmity or other reasons are unable to carry out these tasks, the names of others who are not impeded are to be drawn in their place. The first three drawn will act as Scrutineers, the second three as Infirmarii and the last three as Revisers.

70 § 2. "The Scrutineers add up all the votes that each individual has received, and if no one has obtained at least two thirds of the votes on that ballot, the Pope has not been elected; if however it turns out that someone has obtained at least two thirds of the votes, the canonically valid election of the Roman Pontiff has taken place."

75. "If the balloting mentioned in Nos. 72, 73 and 74 of the aforementioned Constitution does not result in an election, one day shall be dedicated to prayer, reflection and dialogue; in the successive balloting, observing the order established in No. 74 of the same Constitution, only the two names which received the greatest number of votes in the previous scrutiny, will have passive voice. There can be no waiving of the requirement that, in these ballots too, for a valid election to take place there must be a clear majority of at least two thirds of the votes of the Cardinals present and voting. In these ballots the two names having passive voice do not have active voice."

87. "When the election has canonically taken place, the junior Cardinal Deacon summons into the hall of election the Secretary of the College of Cardinals, the Master of Papal Liturgical Celebrations and two Masters of Ceremonies. Then the Cardinal Dean, or the Cardinal who is first in order and seniority, in the name of the whole College of electors, asks the consent of the one elected in the following words: Do you accept your canonical election as Supreme Pontiff? And, as soon as he has received the consent, he asks him: By what name do you wish to be called? Then the Master of Papal Liturgical Celebrations, acting as notary and having as witnesses the two Masters of Ceremonies, draws up a document certifying acceptance by the new Pope and the name taken by him."

"All that I have laid down in this Apostolic Letter issued Motu Proprio I hereby order to be wholly observed, anything to the contrary notwithstanding."

"This document will enter into effect immediately upon its publication in L’Osservatore Romano."

"Given in Rome, at Saint Peter’s, on 22 February in the year 2013, the eighth of my Pontificate."


Vatican City, 25 February 2013 (VIS) – The Holy Father sent a telegram of condolence to Bishop Guy Harpigny of Tournai, Belgium on the death of Cardinal Julien Ries, titular archbishop of Bellicastrum and cardinal-deacon of Sant’Antonio di Padova a Circonvallazione Appia. The cardinal died on Saturday at the age of 92.

The Pope recalled the cardinal as one of the most renown specialists in history of religions, affirming that “through education and research ... he always had the desire to testify to his faith among his contemporaries in a spirit of dialogue.” Benedict XVI asked God to welcome into the light of eternal life, “this eminent man of faith” and sent his heartfelt condolences to his family and relatives, and to the “Famille de l'Œuvre” Sisters who always accompanied him.


Vatican City, 25 February 2013 (VIS) – Following is the text of the communique published this morning by the Press Office of the Holy See:

This morning, the Holy Father received in audience Cardinal Herranz, Cardinal Tomko, and Cardinal De Giorgi, members of the Commission of Cardinals appointed to investigate into the leak of reserved documents, accompanied by the commission's secretary, Fr. Luigi Martignani O.F.M.Cap.”

Upon finishing their assigned task, His Holiness wished to thank them for the useful work they carried out, expressing satisfaction with the outcome of the investigation. In fact, the report revealed, along with the limitations and imperfections of a human nature that are found in every organization, the generosity, uprightness, and dedication of those working in the Holy See at the service of the mission entrusted to the Roman Pontiff by Christ.”

The Holy Father has decided that the results of the report, the contents of which are known only to His Holiness, will be made available exclusively to the new pontiff.”


Vatican City, 25 February 2013 (VIS) - Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., sent a letter to the monasteries devoted to contemplative life around the world, invitign them to intensify their prayers at this special moment in the life of the Church. Following is the entire text of the message that is dated 21 February.

I write to you as the whole Church anxiously follows the final days of the luminous pontificate of His Holiness Benedict XVI and awaits the arrival of the successor whom the Cardinals gathered in conclave and guided by the Holy Spirit will choose, after discerning together the signs of the times of the Church and the world.”

His Holiness Benedict XVI has asked all the faithful to accompany him with their prayers as he commends the Petrine ministry into the Lord’s hands, and to await with trust the arrival of the new Pope. In a particularly urgent way this appeal is addressed to those chosen members of the Church who are contemplatives. The Holy Father is certain that you, in your monasteries and convents throughout the world, will provide the precious resource of that prayerful faith which down the centuries has accompanied and sustained the Church along her pilgrim path. The coming conclave will thus depend in a special way on the transparent purity of your prayer and worship.”

The most significant example of this spiritual elevation which manifests the most authentic and profound dimension of every ecclesial action, the presence of the Holy Spirit who guides the Church, is offered to us by His Holiness Benedict XVI who, after having steered the barque of Peter amid the waves of history, has chosen to devote himself above all to prayer, contemplation and reflection.”

The Holy Father, with whom I shared the contents of this letter, was deeply appreciative, and asked me to thank you and to assure you of his immense love and esteem.”

With affection in Christ I send you greetings, united with you in prayer.”


Vatican City, 25 February 2013 (VIS) – This morning the Holy Father met in separate audiences with:

Cardinal Julian Herranz, Cardinal Jozef Tomko, and Cardinal Salvatore De Giorgi, and

Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.


Vatican City, 25 February 2013 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father:

- accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the Archdiocese of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh, Scotland, presented by Cardinal Keith Michael Patrick O’Brien, in accordance with canon 401 para. 1 of the Code of Canon Law.

- appointed Msgr. Franciszek Kisiel as apostolic administrator “sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis” of the Diocese of Vitebsk, Belarus. Msgr. Kisiel was previously vicar general of that diocese. He succeeds Bishop Wladislaw Blin, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

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