Pope Benedict XVI to make rule changes for conclave?
posted at 1:57 pm on February 20, 2013 by Ed Morrissey
Via Deacon Greg, Reuters reported earlier today that some rule changes may take place in the next few days that will answer questions about timing of the upcoming papal conclave. The canon law on conclaves calls for a period (sede vacante, or “empty chair”) of no less than 15 days after the office of the Pope is empty. That, however, assumes a vacancy because of death rather than retirement/resignation, and is in part to cover a funeral and mourning period and time for the cardinals to travel to Rome.
Benedict XVI will remain Pope until a week from tomorrow, and he may be preparing some changes to fit the extant circumstance:
Pope Benedict may change Church rules governing the conclave where cardinals from around the world will meet next month to secretly elect his successor, the Vatican said on Wednesday.
Benedict was studying the possibility of making changes to two laws established by his predecessor Pope John Paul before he abdicates on February 28, a spokesman said.
The changes may affect the timing of the start of the conclave.
With all of the lead time that Benedict XVI gave for a resignation rather than a death of the prelate, the need for a longer sede vacante has disappeared in this instance. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the time shortened to a week to ten days, or perhaps even sooner. Stay tuned.
If you’re interested in how a conclave works, Deacon Greg links to this fun interactive graphic presentation that steps readers through the process. Also, The Anchoress wonders whether the Cardinals will elect the first Pope Patrick in the Year of the Snake. Faith and begorrah!