Cardinals to Prepare for Conclave in Silence

Electors Agree Not to Give Interviews to Media

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VATICAN CITY, APRIL 10, 2005 ( The cardinal electors unanimously agreed to hold off making public statements, and to prepare in silence and prayer for the conclave where they will elect a new pope.

After the general congregation of cardinals Saturday, Vatican spokesman Joaquín Navarro Valls published a statement announcing that the cardinals were united on the decision.

«After the Holy Father John Paul II’s funeral rites, the cardinals have begun a period of more intense silence and prayer in the face of the conclave,» said the director of the Vatican press office.

«They have decided by unanimity to avoid interviews and meetings with the media during these days,» Navarro Valls said. «Journalists are politely requested to abstain from asking cardinals for interviews or any sort of commentary.»

The press statement clarified that the decision «must not be interpreted as an attitude of discourtesy or indifference toward the media, but as a gesture of great responsibility. What is more, the cardinals are grateful for the enormous interest with which [the media] are following this period.»

The Vatican spokesman said it is not a question of a «prohibition,» but an «invitation,» as opposed to what will occur when the conclave begins, when the obligation is normative.

The cardinals’ decision preceding the conclave is unprecedented.

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