2013 Pope Resigns: Now What? Camarlengo Takes Over For the Meantime Business Inside Vatican (PHOTOS)


At 1900 GMT on Thursday, Feb. 28, the secular faith Roman Catholic Church enters a period known as "Sede Vacante" or Vacant See. Immediately, a senior cardinal, who will be referred as "camerlengo" or chamberlain, temporarily takes over interim powers of the Catholic Church until such time a new pope is elected.

"The entire world is watching... and waiting." Believers of the faith for sure do know today's real life camerlengo, Italy's Tarcisio Bertone, won't be in any way similar to Camerlengo Patrick McKenna, the character played by Scottish actor Ewan McGregor in the 2009 movie "Angels & Demons."

But unlike previous papal conclaves which were assembled because of the death of a pope, Camerlengo Bertone won't need to certify any death certificate since this year's conclave resulted from a resignation.

But he would need to destroy the Fisherman's Ring to symbolise the end of papacy reign of His Holiness Benedict XVI as well as to prevent forgery during the time of the vacancy.

Work inside the Vatican does not end with the self-termination of the papacy of the 265th pope. Much work is still needed to accomplish paperworks, correspondences and meetings.

With or without a pope, all those continue. And it is the camerlengo's job to ensure it gets done.

But he has no authority to publish or release documents, nominate new bishops as well as approve decrees and rulings for Catholic educational institutions and orders. Only the pope has that license to execute.

In essence, anything that must be issued in the name of the Vatican or in the name of the pope must be approved by Pope Benedict's successor, according to The Catholic Leader.

On Friday, all stamps issued by the Vatican post office will reflect the Vacant See. This will continue until such time a new pope is installed.

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