Photo: Papal Conclave, Rome
“The eighth General Congregation that will meet this evening will vote on the date to begin the Conclave”, Fr. Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, announced.
“It is likely,” he clarified, “that the Conclave will begin early next week: perhaps Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday. It definitely will not be tomorrow or Sunday,” concluded Lombardi. Once the meeting concluded the congregation decided on Tuesday as the date for the conclave to begin.
The entire complement of 115 Cardinal electors who were expected have arrived.
Once a Pope dies or steps down, fifteen full days must elapse before the Conclave begins, in order to await those who are absent; nonetheless, the College of Cardinals is granted the faculty to move forward the start of the Conclave if it is clear that all the Cardinal electors are present.
Fr. Lombardi also mentioned the Domus Santa Martha, which will be the residence of the cardinals during the Conclave, explaining that the cardinals’ rooms are assigned by lot drawn during the Congregations. “No cardinal chooses who will be his neighbor nor which room they would prefer.
He noted that the newly elected Pontiff will also remain for a short period at the “Domus” while the papal apartments in the Apostolic Palace are unsealed and renovated.