With the news of Pope Benedict VI’s stepping down as the Vicar of Christ, there soon after came news that there would be a new conclave with the College of Cardinals to be held in a few weeks. This much anticipated event, projected around the middle of March, is where 115 Cardinals worldwide will travel to Rome to gather in a traditional room to place their vote for the new pope. It is by tradition, that this new pope will be elected by a 2/3 majority and once the small ballots are gathered and they know his name, the first sign will be the rising white smoke from the burning ballots. The smoke peacefully rising towards heaven will be the first indication that a decision was reached to the awaiting Catholics. The process to elect a new Pope may take a day or many days, with the College of Cardinals gathering in reference in the secure room for these “closed-door proceedings”.
With further detail on the conclave, in an article of the February 15th issue of The Tidings it is mentioned that, “The College of Cardinals does this through two structures; a general congregation in which all the cardinals are to meet daily; and a particular four-member congregation, consisting of the chamberlain of the Holy Roman Church, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, and a rotating team of three cardinal assistants.” It should also be noted that only those cardinals under the age of 80 will be eligible to vote and thus are excluded from the “closed-door proceedings”. Shortly after the completed conclave, the formal announcement of the new pontiff will be from Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica. After the new pope has donned traditional papal robes, he will then proceed to the balcony to officially greet those below and to give his blessing.
In anticipation of this momentous event, there will be much prayer, reflection and discernment from the cardinals as they place their vote. Many Catholics priests and bishops believe that in quiet reflection, the Holy Spirit gives them the inspiration for their personal choice. Many also believe that it is the Holy Spirit that decides the future pope. This as we know, will be the leader of the Universal Catholic Church and thus, the cardinals know the extreme importance in working together to bring forth the best possible pope. For the U.S., there will be eleven cardinal-electors to join the remaining Cardinals in Rome. Of course there is much anticipated speculation of who that new pope will be with numerous articles already written on the subject, but no one knows for sure and there are many possibilities.
In anticipation, as Catholic moms of faith, we might ponder, “Well what can we do?”. During this most important time for Universal Catholics, as women of faith, during this Season of Lent, we need to pray. Prayers first for our current Pope Benedict VI, prayers for the College of Cardinals during this time of great transition and prayers for the new future pope. It is a time to have a full trust in this holy process of a great tradition that the best possible Pope will be elected in this Year of Faith. In this time of great transition as Catholic moms, and women of faith, surely our prayers will make that difference as one anticipates the conclave for our new Holy Father…our future pope.
Leslie Lenko is part of Team Adoration for a 24 Hour Perpetual Adoration Chapel. She is also an avid fundraiser/event consultant for parish and Catholic organizations. Leslie has been a Vocations Promoter for six-years coordinating between the L.A. Vocations Office and her local parish. She has in the past participated and coordinated the “Adopt A Seminarian Program” through her parish. She resides in Southern California with her family.
Copyright 2013 Leslie Lenko