All Those Involved in Conclave to Take an Oath

Clergy and Lay People Alike

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VATICAN CITY, APRIL 13, 2005 (Zenit.org).- All the officials and assistants of the conclave — clergy and laity — will be called to take an oath Friday in the Hall of Blessings of the Apostolic Palace.

All those involved in the conclave, as approved by the cardinal chamberlain and by the three cardinal assistants, and in keeping with No. 48 of the apostolic constitution “Universi Domini Gregis,” will have to swear and sign the prescribed oath, according to the Office for the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff.

The conclave to elect a new pope begins Monday. Currently, 115 cardinals are scheduled to take part. Two others who are eligible to join in have declined for reasons of health.

The text of the oath to be taken on Friday states the following:

“I, N.N., promise and swear that, unless I should receive a special faculty given expressly by the newly elected Pontiff or by his successors, I will observe absolute and perpetual secrecy with all who are not part of the College of Cardinal electors concerning all matters directly or indirectly related to the ballots cast and their scrutiny for the election of the Supreme Pontiff.

“I likewise promise and swear to refrain from using any audio or video equipment capable of recording anything which takes place during the period of the election within Vatican City, and in particular anything which in any way, directly or indirectly, is related to the process of the election itself. I declare that I take this oath fully aware that an infraction thereof will make me subject to the spiritual and canonical penalties which the future Supreme Pontiff will see fit to adopt, in accordance with Canon 1399 of the Code of Canon Law.

“So help me God and these Holy Gospels which I touch with my hand.”

The communiqué listed the individuals who will have to take the oath:

— The secretary of the College of Cardinals, Archbishop Francesco Monterisi, secretary of the Congregation for Bishops.

— The master of the liturgical celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff, Archbishop Piero Marini.

— The masters of pontifical ceremonies.

— The religious who supervise the pontifical sacristy.

— The ecclesiastic chosen by the cardinal dean to help him in his duties.

— The religious charged with hearing confessions in the various languages.

— Doctors and nurses.

— The personnel for preparing meals and cleaning.

— Technical service personnel (Universi Dominici Gregis, Nos. 5 and 51).

— Personnel responsible for transporting the cardinal electors from the Domus Sanctae Marthae to the Apostolic Palace.

— Elevator attendants at the Apostolic Palace.

— Priests admitted as assistants to some of the cardinals.

The communiqué explained that after having been instructed on the meaning of the oath, they will have to pronounce and personally sign the prescribed formula before Cardinal Eduardo Martínez Somalo, chamberlain of the Holy Roman Church, and in the presence of two masters of pontifical ceremonies.

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ZENIT Staff

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