Majority of the cardinal electors are already present in Vatican, hobnobbing with each other in and outside private meetings. But this majority chose not to determine yet a date for the start of the papal conclave as they wait for the arrival of 12 more fellow cardinals. In the meantime, talks on corruption and sex issues hounded the first day of pre-conclave meetings on Monday.
Of the 207 total cardinals around the world, 142 are now in Vatican. Of the 142, 115 are cardinal electors, eligible to choose and vote the next 266thpope of the Roman Catholic church because they are still under the age of 80 years old.
However, only 103 of the Cardinal Electors were present as of Monday. The remaining 12, Cardinal Antonios Naguib, Cardinal Bechara Boutros Rai, Cardinal Joachim Meisner, Cardinal Antonio María Rouco Varela, Cardinal Jean-Baptiste Pham Minh Man, Cardinal Zenon Grocholweski, Cardinal Theodore Adrien Sarr, Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz, Cardinal Rainer Woelki, Cardinal Dominik Duka, Cardinal Karl Lehmann and Cardinal John Tong Hon have yet to arrive. Vatican expects them to show up at the Vatican Square anytime on Tuesday.
The rules of the papal conclave state that all cardinal electors must be present before any conclave is decided to begin.
Notwithstanding the absence of their fellow cardinal electors, the present College of Cardinals immediately set the business running and had strongly implied they wish an audience with the Vatican managers to discuss allegations of corruption and cronyism within the hierarchy levels of the Catholic Church, presumably to be enlightened before they make the crucial step of choosing and electing the next pope, who will ultimately be swamped with the huge responsibility of cleaning up the mess. For after Benedict Xvi's abdication of his 8-year papacy, the cardinals have expressed they wouldn't want a resignation trending among the forthcoming popes. They would want the 266th pope and the succeeding ones to serve the papacy until death.
The secular Roman Catholic religion figured strongly in controversies as Benedict XVI's former butler made known to the world the ill-goings of petty infighting, turf battles and allegations of corruption, nepotism and cronyism happening in the Vatican's administrative side of affairs.
"I would imagine that as we move along there will be questioning of cardinals involved in the governing of the Curia to see what they think has to be changed, and in that context anything can come up," the AP quoted U.S. Cardinal Francis George as saying.
With the mount of sex abuse crisis now hounding the Catholic church, the College of Cardinals might press on the new pope to strongly implement that what is stated in the canon law - to keep priests who molested children out of parishes.
"He obviously has to accept the universal code of the church which is zero tolerance for anyone who has ever abused a minor child and therefore may not remain in public ministry in the church," Cardinal George said. "That has to be accepted. I don't think that will be a problem."
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