2013 Papal Conclave: Vatican Confirms Revision Made to Give Way to Pope Benedict XVI Successor

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | February 26, 2013 3:28 PM EST

It was not as if it was unexpected, but Vatican had announced and confirmed that the revisions made on the century old procedures surrounding a papal conclave was indeed facilitated to give way for the selection of the successor of outgoing Pope Benedict XVI.

Effectively, the College of Cardinals may now organise to conduct a papal conclave before March 15.

"I leave the College of Cardinals the possibility to bring forward the start of the conclave once all cardinals are present, or push the beginning of the election back by a few days should there be serious reasons," the pope said in a statement read by his spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi.

But the order likewise mandated that the conclave must occur within 20 days of a pope's resignation or death, with "all the cardinal electors present."

Under the revised rules for a papal conclave process, a cardinal may only become pope if he gets to acquire two-thirds of the cardinals' written votes. The previous elections, some pontiffs took on the reigns of the papacy after a verbal compromise was reached or uttered between two or three competing camps.

The resigned pope likewise enacted an administrative order wherein the select few who are allowed to act as aides into the secret vote will be required to take an oath of secrecy, or otherwise risk the penalty of excommunication from the Roman Catholic secular faith.

They will be made to swear an oath, which reads: "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 declare that I take this oath fully aware that an infraction thereof will make me subject to the penalty of excommunication 'latae sententiae', which is reserved to the Apostolic See."

Read more:

2013 Papal Conclave: May Happen Earlier on March 10 as Outgoing Pope Mulls Last-Minute Revisions to 99-Year-Old Rules

2013 Papal Conclave: The Usher of Apocalypse Doomsday?

Meet the 'Papabili' or Potential Popes Who Could Replace Benedict XVI (SLIDESHOW)

Next Pope, Will Race and Skin Color Matter in Choosing the Leader of the Catholics?

Pope Benedict's Resignation, and How It Could Affect the Tenure of Next Generation Popes

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