Papal Conclave – Events to “extra omnes” and beyond

In view of the intense interest in this week’s events in Rome, which will be covered by over 5,000 accredited journalists representing 1,004 news outlets, 65 nations, and 24 languages, we have produced a brief summary of some of the more important milestones.  For “white smoke watchers”, Fr. Lombardi has indicated that there will be two votes each morning and afternoon, and the associated ‘fumata’ can be expected around 12:00pm and 7:00pm respectively.

With regard to papabili predictions, the Rorate Caeli  blog has suggested that ”Religious correspondents” and “Vaticanists” really don’t know much more about the Conclave than the rest of us, a view backed by data from the 2005 Conclave, (some of which did not give Joseph Ratzinger a high profile), and supported by L’Osservatore Romano, the official daily of the Holy See.

The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff has provided details of the liturgy here: Ordinary, Missa de Angelis; Offertorium Motet, Tu es Petrus, Palestrina.

Monday, 11 March

5:30pm The 90 or so auxiliary personnel needed to ensure the smooth operations of the Conclave will take the oath of secrecy in the Pauline Chapel at 17:30. These suport  staff include: priests (who will hear confessions); security staf; cooks; cleaners; technicians; medics; and drivers.. Contrary to earlier reports, Fr. Lombardi has indicated thatl be no live broadcast.

Tuesday 12 March

7:00am: Cardinals begin move to Domus Sanctae Marthae, their residence for the duration of the Conclave.  Rooms have been assigned by lot.

10:00am: “Pro eligendo Romano Pontifice” Mass to be celebrated by the Cardinal Dean at in St. Peter’s Square.

3:45pm: Cardinals move from the Domus Sanctae Marthae to the Pauline Chapel in the Apostolic Palace.

4:30pm: Cardinals process from the Pauline Chapel to the Sistine Chapel and, after they have all taken the oath, the Master of Papal Liturgical Celebrations will give the order “Extra omnes” for all those not taking part in the Conclave to leave the Sistine Chapel.

The cardinals will listen to a meditation given by Cardinal Grech, concerning the grave duty incumbent on them and thus on the need to act with right intention for the good of the Universal Church, after which they will proceed to the first vote.

7:00pm: Vespers

7:30pm: Cardinal-electors return to the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

Wednesday, 13 March

7:45: Cardinal-electors move from the Domus Sanctae Marthae to the Pauline Chapel at 8:15am Mass.

9:30am Cardinals enter the Sistine Chapel, pray the Liturgy of the Hours, and proceed to the voting process.

12:00pm They will return to the Domus Sanctae Marthae and, after lunch, will go back to the Sistine Chapel at 4:00pm where they will pray briefly and resume the voting procedure until 7:00pm.

If pontiff is not elected in the first four days of voting, the cardinals will take a pause on the fifth day in order to pray, speak freely among themselves, and listen to a brief exhortation given by the senior cardinal in the Order of Deacons

Subsequent ballots will proceed in a similar fashion—two days of voting with every third day taken to pause for prayer—until the 34th vote on the afternoon of the eleventh day. If this does not result in an election, under Benedict’s Normas nonnullas modification of “Universi Dominici Gregis” [para.75] applies and following a day of prayer, reflection and dialogue, the two names which received the greatest number of votes in the previous ballot will be put forward.

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