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Conclave expected to start between March 9 and 11

Conclave expected to start between March 9 and 11

The conclave to choose the next Pope will likely begin between March 9 and 11, reports the Catholic News Agency.

A Vatican official speaking on background to CNA said on Sunday, February 24 that the dates being discussed for the start of the conclave to elect Benedict XVI’s successor are somewhere between March 9th and 11th.

The possibility of foregoing the normal 15-day waiting period for opening a conclave has been raised by Pope Benedict announcing that he will resign on February 28, giving everyone 17 days advanced notice of his intention.

The cardinals are not able to choose a date earlier than March 15 as the rules currently stand, but Pope Benedict published a declaration yesterday clearing the way for an accelerated timeline.

Before the conclave begins, the cardinals will hold a series of General Congregations, at which they will take up any administrative items, discuss the needs of the Church and talk about who can best respond to those needs as the next Pope.

During the conclave, the 117 cardinals who are under 80 years-old will gather behind the locked doors of the Sistine Chapel and determine who the Church’s next Pope will be.
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