Friday, March 1, 2013


It is now 8:01 PM on Thursday, February 28, 2013, and history has just been made:  the Church has a Sede Vacante/Vacant See of Peter, but we still have a Pope Emeritus living.

Bells pealed all over Rome continuously from about 4:55 PM to 5:15 PM, the window of time for the Pope's helicopter to depart the Vatican and fly to Castel Gandolfo in the mountains outside Rome.  It was Rome's final tribute to a Pope whom Catholics and the world came to admire and cherish.

A Sede Vacante, but no Funeral Rites to be performed; no lying in state; no major Funeral Mass in St. Peter's Square.  So different than the last 600 years.

Tomorrow morning, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Dean of the College of Cardinals will send a special letter to all the Cardinals of the world informing them officially that the See of Peter is now vacant, that no one is holding the Keys of Peter.  Because of the advance notice by Pope Benedict, most of the Cardinals of the world are already here in Rome.

Most likely our first gathering, or General Congregation, will be on Monday, March 4.  Since the proceedings of those General Congregations are secret, except for official announcements, I will not be able to post new Blogs nor Tweet on the confidential issues and discussions. 

At yesterday's General Audience, and today's Farewell with the Cardinals, the one question I heard repeatedly was "Who is that?"  "Where is he from?"  These questions underscored our need to devote a lot of time to getting to know so many of the new Cardinals created these past few years.  Recall that there were two Consistories of Cardinals just last year.

I am eager to learn as much as I can about the status of the Church all around the globe, to find where the Church is dynamic and flourishing--and why.  Also, where the Church is in a darker reality, not active and few Catholics participating in their faith.  From all of these important discussions I am hopeful that a newer and fresher vision for the Church will emerge, thus helping us select the right man to lead us in that fresh direction.

St. Peter, pray for us!