First Monday of March, and the 115 Catholic cardinals responsible to elect the new pope are getting ready to work in a series of meetings in Vatican City.
Presumably meeting each other for the first time for some of the cardinals, they will seize Monday's assembly to get to know each other as well as size up the papabiles or potential popes shortlisted among them.
During the meetings, the cardinals are likewise expected to decide and come up with a date to hold the much-awaited papal conclave for this year that will ultimately elect the 266th pope to replace His Holiness Benedict XVI, who resigned after an 8-year tenure of the papacy. He rose to the position as the supreme spiritual leader of the Roman Catholic faith in 2005.
"It really is an opportunity for the cardinals, many of whom have not met one another, to measure one another up and start thinking who, when they go into the conclave, they might be voting for," according to CNN.
Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, however stressed the date for the conclave's start may not be immediately determined during the first meeting since not all the cardinals have arrived in Rome. A definitive date for the conclave may come only until middle of next week, he said.
And for the new pope, it was reported that the cardinals will ask and want him to pledge to a lifetime act of service, "to serve until his death," which he will declare in his inaugural address. The cardinals believed the resignation of Benedict XVI further destabilised the Catholic Church, already stinking from so much sexual abuse crisis and intrigues and controversies within its confines, so in order to prevent the worst that could happen, the cardinals will ask the new pope to serve for life to avoid future conflict and internal strife.
Although the pope does have the prerogative to quit the papacy, "for the future we need to safeguard the freedom of the church from external influences," an unidentified cardinal told The Sunday Times.
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