March 5, 2013

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

The following, in it's entirety, is a copyrighted transcript of the Vatican Information Service.

Summary

- CARDINALS SEND TELEGRAM OF GRATITUDE TO BENEDICT XVI

- NEW CHALICE-URNS FOR ELECTION OF POPE

 

CARDINALS SEND TELEGRAM OF GRATITUDE TO BENEDICT XVI

Vatican City, 5 March 2013 (VIS) – Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., director of the Holy See Press Office, in this afternoon's press conference, gave updated information on the development of the General Congregations.

“On Monday afternoon from 5:00pm until 7:00pm,” he said, “the second General Congregation of the College of Cardinals took place, during which Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM Cap., preacher of the Pontifical Household, gave the first of the meditations provided for by the Apostolic Constitution.”

“Additionally, a further five Cardinal electors who had arrived in Rome swore the oath: Cardinal Bechara Boutros Rai, O.M.M., patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites, Lebanon; Cardinal Joachim Meisner, archbishop of Cologne, Germany; Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, archbishop of Berlin, Germany; Cardinal Théodore-Adrien Sarr, archbishop of Dakar, Senegal; and Cardinal Dominik Jaroslav Duka, O.P., archbishop of Prague, Czech Republic.”

The cardinals are free to address the gathering, having only to sign up and then presenting in the order that they have signed in. Nine cardinals spoke and it was also decided that, on Tuesday and Wednesday, the Congregations will only be held in the morning.

Referring to the third Congregation that took place this morning from 9:30am until 12:40pm, Fr. Lombardi reported that two Cardinal electors—Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, archbishop of Madrid and Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Catholic Education—and five cardinals who are over the age of 80 arrived and swore the oath. In total there were 148 cardinals present.

There were 11 speeches given by cardinals representing each of the continents and the topics discussed were: activities of the Holy See and its relations with bishops throughout the world; Church renewal in light of Vatican Council II; the Church's position and the need for the New Evangelization in today's world with its diverse cultural environments. Number 37 of Benedict XVI's Motu Proprio concerning the beginning of the Conclave was presented to the prelates but no decision regarding its date was made.

There was also a proposal, endorsed by the Particular Congregation, to dedicate tomorrow afternoon to prayer in St. Peter's Basilica. The Cardinal Dean, Angelo Sodano, will lead the prayers. This initiative will also serve as an invitation to the entire Church to pray at this important moment. The ceremony is open to the public so any faithful who so desire may attend.

In conclusion, the text of a telegram for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, which was signed by Cardinal Dean Sodano, was approved. It reads: “To His Holiness, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Castel Gandolfo.”

“The Cardinal Fathers, gathered at the Vatican for the General Congregations in view of the next conclave, send you their devoted greetings and express their renewed gratitude for all your illustrious Petrine ministry and for your example of generous pastoral care for the good of the Church and of the world. With their gratitude they hope to represent the recognition of the entire Church for your tireless work in the vineyard of the Lord. In conclusion, the members of the College of Cardinals trust in your prayers for them, as well as for the whole Church.”

Fr. Lombardi reported that the preparations for the Conclave have begun in the Sistine Chapel so it is now closed to visitors. He also presented data on the media coverage of the events of the Holy See in these days: 4,432 temporarily accredited journalists have joined the 600 permanently accredited journalists. The more than 5,000 journalists represent 1,004 news outlets, 65 nations, and 24 languages.

 

NEW CHALICE-URNS FOR ELECTION OF POPE

Vatican City, 5 March 2013 (VIS) – On a tapestry hanging in the eponymous gallery of the Vatican Museums, we find one of the oldest witnesses of the chalice-urns that served to gather the ballots of the cardinals voting in the election of a new pontiff.

The tapestry relates an episode narrated in the chronicles of the election of Pope Urban VIII (1623-1644). In the final scrutiny, during the counting of the ballots, one ballot was missing. On the right-hand side of the tapestry, one can see a scrutineer who is looking inside a large chalice with attention and interest, as if to verify the presence of the lost ballot.

A chalice that is very similar to the one seen in the tapestry and a pyx (ciborium) are preserved in the pontifical sacristy of the Sistine Chapel. This chalice and pyx have been used to gather the voting ballots in the conclaves of the last century, up to the election of John Paul II.

With the promulgation of the Apostolic Constitution "Universi Dominici Gregis" concerning the period of Sede Vacante of the Apostolic See and the election of the Roman Pontiff (John Paul II, 22 February 1996), the need arose to adapt the urns to the new norms. It was necessary to add a new urn to the chalice and pyx called for in previous regulations, in order to receive the votes of any cardinals having the right to vote but who were impeded through illness from leaving their room to be present for the voting process in the Sistine Chapel. Rather than creating another urn, three new ones were designed during John Paul II's pontificate, principally to make them more functional for the intended use, but also to make them uniform.

The function of the urns is described in Chapter V of the Constitution, which also speaks of a plate to be placed on top of the first urn. Every cardinal, in fact, must "place his ballot on the plate, with which he drops it into the receptacle beneath." The second urn will be used only in the case of the presence in the Conclave of cardinals impeded by illness from leaving their rooms and the third urn will be used to gather the ballots after the scrutiny, before they are burned to produce the traditional smoke announcing to the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square either the non-election (black smoke) or the election (white smoke) of the new Pontiff.

The urns are the work of the Italian sculptor Cecco Bonanotte, already known for the new entrance doors of the Vatican Museums that were inaugurated on the occasion of the Jubilee Year 2000. They are made of silver and gilded bronze and their iconography is linked to two fundamental symbols: the first is that of the Good Shepherd and the second of charity. The symbols chosen by the artist for the three urns—a shepherd and his sheep along with more subtle birds, grapes, and ears of grain—are united in a simple and direct way to the meaning that the person of the Pope has in the Church: the shepherd, indeed the Good Shepherd who, in the name of Christ, has the duty of "confirming his brothers" (Luke 22:31) in the faith.

The symbolism of the Good Shepherd, however, also underlines the style of exercising this primacy, which is indissolubly linked to charity. This idea is clearly expressed in the Gospel of John (21:15-25) where "feeding" the flock is joined inseparably to loving care: "Simon of John, do you love me?..." Peter tells him: "Lord, you know everything, you know that I love you: "Feed my lambs." The relationship of love between Jesus and Peter, and as a consequence between the Pope and the Church, is emphasized in the other symbols used to decorate the urns: the birds, grapes, and the ears of grain. Eucharistic bread and wine, which are Christ, accentuate the idea of charity underlined by the sharing of this very bread and the chalice.

Local site Links:

Like this story? Then share it!