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Quick pontifex emeritus facts.

From Frederico Lombardi, SJ, Vatican spokesman:

Pope Benedict XVI has given his resignation freely, in accordance with Canon 332 2 of the Code of Canon Law.Pope Benedict XVI will not take part in the Conclave for the election of his successor.Pope Benedict XVI will move to the Papal residence in Castel Gandolfo when his resignation shall become effective.When renovation work on the monastery of cloistered nuns inside the Vatican is complete, the Holy Father will move there for a period of prayer and reflection.

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I wonder what will be become of the encyclical on faith. It was set to be released before Easter, so presumably it is finished and in the process of being translated. I suppose if he signs it before February 28th, it could come out before or after that date. I hope so. I have been looking forward to it.

Cardinal Lubomyr Husar of the Ukraine will turn 80 on 26 February, and so will not be able to vote in the coming Conclave. Two cardinals turn 80 in March, Cardinal Poletto, former archbishop of Turin, whose birthday is 18 March, and Cardinal Sandoval, former archbishop of Guadalajara, whose birthday is 28 March. I am guessing that the Conclave will be in mid-March. Should the opening date be the 17th, I believe Cardinal Poletto is allowed to be an elector. The next day, no.The present speculation on leading candidates is a bit fantastic. For example, the Nigerian cardinal, Francis Arinze, long of the Curia but now retired, is already 80. He will not be in the Conclave. That doesn't technically exclude him, but his election is highly unlikely.A list of plausible names won't emerge for two weeks. And "plausible" is just that.I am surprised that (the former) Pope Benedict will stay in Vatican City, but the information is still unclear since the statement speaks of "a period of prayer."

As far as eligible to vote, I suspect the same rules will apply as with the death of a pope. In this case it will be 8 pm in Rome (2pm EST) on February 28th. The beginning of the conclave is of no importance. And I see something as early as March 6th and as late as March 11th for a start. Most diocesan bishops who are cardinals will want to make this as early as possible to give them time to return home with some breathing room ahead of Holy Week.I suspect the residency in Vatican City has been dictated for security reasons.There are still a number of things to will be worked out. Will C. Sodano still preside at the pre-conclave meetings? Or will it be C. Re the senior Cardinal-Bishop of the electors.?

I suspect that security issues will be a real concern for the future. And, yes, much still to be worked out.

My understanding of the announcement is that the Pope will temporarily reside in the cloister in the Vatican and then move to Castel Gandalfo. Hmmm. If the next pope has his druthers no doubt he would prefer that Benedict retire to his home in Germany or maybe cloister somewhere.

OK. On to the essentials. Who will be the next pope? Whom do you want?

Claessens 1The death of the pope (or resignation) is not the cut-off date for those cardinals turning 80. Rather it is the opening day of the conclave. Catholic News Service confirms this. I should have added the name of Cardinal Walter Kasper. He turns 80 on 5 March. I'd say his chances of being a voter are very slim.

Ann Olivier:I think it is the other way round. The pope will go to Castel Gandolfo on the evening of 28 February. He will return to Vatican City once his new quarters in the (former?) Carmelite nuns' monastery are ready.Names? No. I'm still trying to take in today's developments. I thought Pope Benedict looked extremely tired when reading his "announcement" to the assembled cardinals at today's consistory. The history! The emotion! I presume that he will maintain his regular schedule until the 28th, including the traditional Ash Wednesday stational Mass at Santa Sabina.

Mater Ecclesiae seems to house nuns from different orders. They take turns."The first order called to serve at Mater Ecclesiae were the Poor Clares, followed by Discalced Carmelites and then the Benedictines. Now, Visitation nuns from just two countries, Italy and Spain, are ensconced at Mater Ecclesiae and the constitution of the monastery has been changed to reduce the apostolate to a three-year mission." http://www.archden.org/index.cfm/ID/2918So maybe if Benedict moves in, the nuns who already serve him will continue to do so.

Why was it necessary to say that he would not take part in the conclave? Are there any other cardinals (which he will be as of 3/1) over 80 who are allowed to take part?Have the rules been changed to allow former popes to take part?istm that B16's participation, if allowed, would cast doubt on ANY results, implying that his presence had undue influence on the Holy Spirit!

Claessens1:You are correct. A cardinal who is not yet 80 at the time the sede vacante begins is eligible to vote in the conclave. And so, Cardinal Kasper, who turns 80 on 5 March, will be an elector, even if the conclave begins on his birthday, or any subsequent day up to the twenty-day limit.