Skip to comments.Vatican Bracing for Papal Succession
Posted on 04/01/2005 7:36:44 AM PST by marshmallow
Vatican, Apr. 01 (CWNews.com) - With the physical health of Pope John Paul II (bio - news) rapidly deteriorating, Church officials are bracing for the dramatic changes that will come at the Vatican with the death of the Pontiff.
Top Vatican officials had gathered around the Holy Father in the morning of April 1. The Pope reportedly met with Cardinal Angelo Sodano (bio - news), the Secretary of State; Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (bio - news), the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the vicar for the Rome diocese; and Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, the sostituto or deputy Secretary of State.
But it would be Cardinal Eduardo Martinez Somalo who would come to the fore with the Pontiff's death. The Spanish prelate, who is prefect of the Congregation for Religious, also holds the office of camerlengo: the key figure in the period of transition between Popes. He would certify the death of the Pontiff, in the presence of Msgr. Piero Marini, the master of pontifical ceremonies; and Msgr. Enrico Serafini, the notary for the papal household.
The Pope's death would then be announced to the people of Rome-- either by the vicar for the Rome diocese, Cardinal Ruini, or by the dean of the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Ratzinger. The cardinals of the world would then be summoned to Rome for the funeral of John Paul II and the election of the 265th Roman Pontiff.
With the death of the Pope, all offices of the Roman Curia become vacant, with two exceptions: the camerlengo retains his important role, as does the head of the Apostolic Penitentiary (currently Cardinal James Francis Stafford), whose office deals with issues of conscience. All the other officials-- the prefects of Congregations and presidents of Pontifical Councils-- cease operating in those capacities. The workings of the Vatican essentially cease, until a new Pope makes his own appointments, or confirms the current occupants of various Curial posts.
The camerlengo supervises the administration of the Holy See during the transitional period. Among his first duties is the task of securing the papal apartments. The Pope's secretary, Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, and the Polish nuns who have handled household tasks for John Paul II will remain in the apostolic palace until the Pope's funeral; then the papal apartments are closed off.
The camerlengo is responsible for destroying the Pope's official seal, which is placed on formal papal documents, and the "fisherman's ring" that is the sign of his office as Successor to Peter. The College of Cardinals will set up temporary committees to oversee the necessary work of administering the Holy See, and to arrange the papal conclave. But the cardinals hold no power to govern the Church during the interregnum.
In his apostolic constitution Universi Dominici Gregis in 1996, Pope John Paul II reaffirmed that no act of Church governance-- such as the appointment of a bishop or acceptance of a bishops' resignation, or the publication of any teaching document-- is valid until a new Pope is elected. Nor can the cardinals amend or correct the acts of previous Popes-- including those that govern the process of a papal election.
When the Pope's death is announced, all cardinals are called to Rome for the funeral. There are currently 183 cardinals, of whom 117 are under the age of 80 and therefore eligible to participate in a papal election. Pope John Paul II has elevated 170 of the living cardinals, and all but 3 of those who will choose his successor.
Not to make anyone feel old here, but I wasn't even born yet when they had the last conclave. :-)
Not much, I didn't even have a driver's license.
Thanks, I was 14 when the last one occurred and, not being raised Catholic, didn't really have a clue as to what was going on.
I'm not sure you they brace for it so much as they embrace the inevitability. I just returned last week from a vacation in Rome. Judging from what I have read about preparations, I'm pleased John Paul II hung in there until we returned. It sounds quite disruptive.
Vatican City - Cardinal Camillo Ruini, Pope John Paul II's deputy for Rome who is traditionally charged with breaking the news of a papal death, arrived at the Vatican early on Friday.
Ruini, who is also the head of the Italian bishops' conference, arrived at the Vatican around 08:30.
A Vatican spokesperson said on Friday the Holy See would make an announcement about the pope's condition later in the morning.
"A further announcement will be made on the pope's health in the late morning," the Vatican's deputy spokesperson Ciro Benedettini told reporters.
Earlier, the Holy See said the 84-year-old pontiff received the last rites on Thursday evening after suffering a heart attack and that his condition was "very serious".
It was highly unusual for the Vatican to reveal such details of the pope's condition, a signal that it was preparing the world's 1.1 billion Roman Catholics for the demise of their beloved pope.
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I know, I'm scheduled to be in Rome in a few weeks. I've been wondering how our plans might be affected should we be there during death, or funeral, or conclave.
I was in college and one of my professors predicted a new Polish pope. Everyone laughed at him until the new pope was selected and then went to ask him where he got that type of source. LOL!!
This always just boggles my mind. Peter, the fisherman who became a fisher of men. I sometimes forget the sense of history that Peter brings up.
My daughter is in Florence and part of me wants to suggest she go to Rome for this historic occasion. But then I think of the disruption, the crowds and the potential for terrorism.
I have the same mixed feelings. While it will be a very sad event for the Church and the world, it would be a unique experience to stand in the square and watch for the puff of smoke after each vote. On the other hand--everyone in the world will be there. I'm glad I've got my hotel nailed down!
This will be my fourth, sonny. I dimly remember the death of John XXIII and elevation of Paul IV.
We spent a full day at the Vatican. I think that visit may have been harmed a great deal by the circus sure to develop, including security. I've seen some throw away stories on some news shows about security in and out of Rome. We made one day trip to Pompeii that I think may have been disrupted if not destroyed with security in and out of the city.
Of course, the stories may just be hype. We were just thankful we didn't have to test the possibilities.
I have vague memories of watching Pope John's funeral and the installation of Pope Paul. I was rather young, and not catholic at that time...but as a kid news junkie, I knew it was important.
Makes me feel old and sad...I had had a feeling for months that Terri would die, and the pope would follow shortly...but I didn't expect it would be this close together.
Wow. I guess that would officially make me "the boy" eh? lol.
ROME (AP) - Septic shock, which has stricken Pope John Paul II, involves both bacteria in the blood and a consequent over-relaxing of the blood vessels. The vessels, which are normally narrow and taut, get floppy in reaction to the bacteria and can't sustain any pressure.
That loss of blood pressure is catastrophic, making the heart try harder and harder to compensate for the collapse. Even the hearts of fit and healthy people struggle with septic shock.
John Paul suffered blood poisoning and the collapse of his blood vessels after a urinary tract infection spread to his bloodstream Thursday afternoon.
Vatican officials said the pope was receiving antibiotics, but asked to remain at his Vatican apartment and not be taken to the hospital.
"The chances of an elderly person in this condition with septic shock surviving 24 to 48 hours are slim _ about 10-20 percent, but that would be in an intensive care unit with very aggressive treatment," said Dr. Gianni Angelini, a professor of cardiac surgery at Bristol University in England.
Unless circulation is restored quickly, within about 24 to 48 hours, the organs start failing because of lack of oxygen. The kidneys tend to fail first and the others fall like dominos behind it, said Dr. Peter Weissberg, medical director of the British Heart Foundation.
Eventually the heart fails, but unlike in heart failure, the problem does not start in the heart.
"If you've got somebody who is otherwise fit and able _ and you can get antibiotics into them to kill off the bacteria and you can support their circulation with drugs _ then you may get them over it," he said.
There are two main treatments, comprising antibiotics to clear the infection and drugs such as adrenaline to support the circulation by getting the heart to pump faster and clamping down on the arteries.
I recently read Dan Brown's (author of "Di Vinci Code") book, "Angels and Demons." It raises some very ominous possibilities of what could happen during the interrgnum period between a Pope's death and the naming of their successor. Anyone else read this? Thoughts?
St. Malachy O'Morgair (1095?-1148)
Maelmhaedhoc OMorgair (Latin form: Malachy) was born in Armagh, Ireland in 1094. In 1148, he died in the arms of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, his biographer.
St. Malachy was reported to have possessed the powers of levitation, healing, and clairvoyance. While on his way to the Vatican to assume the post of papal legate for Ireland, he fell into trance and saw a line of papal reigns stretching from the successor to Innocent II and extending through centuries to the last of the line, identified as Peter of Rome.
Malachy assigned short descriptions in Latin to each pope when he committed his vision to paper. These mottoes usually refer to a family name, birthplace, coat-of-arms, or office held before election to the papacy. Some of the phrases are multiple prophecies, written with ingenious word play. For example, Pius II, who reigned for only 26 days in 1503, was aptly described as "De Parvo Homine" (from a little man). His family name was Piccolomini, Italian for "little man."
Sometimes the personal history of the pope plays a part in the motto given by Malachy. Clement XIII (1758-69), who had conenctions with the government of the Italian state of Umbria and whose emblem was a rose, was called by Malachy Rosa Umbriae, the "Rose of Umbria."
The passage of time has proved doubters of St. Malachy wrong, for his prophecies have turned out to be amazingly accurate. He even prophesied the precise date of his own death, and got it right. The prophecies concern the papacy, starting with Pope Celestine II in 1143. In all, 112 popes and their characteristics are listed from 1143 to the "end of the world."
Here are descriptions of the final popes according to Malachy:
Pastor et Nauta/Shepherd and Navigator: John XXIII (1958 -1963), patriarch of Venice (a city full of sailors) led his flock to a modernization of the Church through the Ecumenical Council. John chose two symbols for this Council -- a cross and a ship.
Flors Florum/Flower of Flowers: Paul VI (1963-1978) had a coat-of-arms depicting three fleurs-de-lis.
De Medietate Lunae/From the Half Moon: John Paul I (1978-1978) had the given name of Albino Luciani or "white light." Half-way into his short reign, a lunar eclipse occurred.
De Labore Solis/From the Toil of the Sun [Labore could also be Effort, Distress, Suffering, Trouble, leading to quite a few variations. The preceding is the usual translation.]: John Paul II was born during the solar eclipse of May 18, 1920.
De Gloria Olivae/From the Glory of the Olives: The Order of Saint Benedict has claimed that this pope will come from their ranks. Saint Benedict himself prophesied that before the end of the world his Order, known also as the Olivetans, will triumphantly lead the Catholic Church in its fight against evil.
Petrus Romanus/Peter of Rome: The Final Pope? "In the final persecution of the Holy Roman Church there will reign Peter the Roman, who will feed his flock among many tribulations, after which the seven-hilled city will be destroyed and the dreadful Judge will judge the people."
Yeah--I am looking forward to going to the Vatican. Like I said, mixed feelings.
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