Cardinals Again Exchange Ideas on Church and World

Meet in 9th General Congregation

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VATICAN CITY, APRIL 13, 2005 ( Preparation for the conclave continued when cardinals met again to exchange points of view on the situation of the Church and the world.

Vatican spokesman Joaquín Navarro Valls reported in a press statement that 140 cardinals, including non-electors, participated today in the ninth general congregation of cardinals since John Paul II’s death.

“The assembly continued their exchange of ideas on the situation of the Church and the world,” Navarro Valls said in his statement.

According to the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, who was Vatican secretary of state until the Pope’s death, reported Tuesday on the Holy See’s activity on the international scene.

The cardinals also studied some articles of Chapter 4 of the apostolic constitution “Universi Dominici Gregis,” which establishes the “Faculties of the Dicasteries of the Roman Curia during the vacancy of the Apostolic See.”

During the vacancy of the Holy See, from the Pope’s death until the election of his successor, except for the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signature and the Tribunal of the Roman Rota, the dicasteries of the Roman Curia “have no faculty” in those matters that depend on the Pope or in which they act in keeping with a special faculty granted by the Pope, the constitution states.

However, “the ordinary faculties proper to each Dicastery do not cease at the death of the Pope.”

Nevertheless, John Paul II decreed “that the Dicasteries are only to make use of these faculties for the granting of favors of lesser importance, while more serious or controverted matters, if they can be postponed, shall be exclusively reserved to the future Pope.”

“If such matters admit of no delay,” the Pope explained in the constitution, “they can be entrusted by the College of Cardinals to the Cardinal who was Prefect until the Pope’s death, or to the Archbishop who was then President, and to the other Cardinals of the same Dicastery, to whose examination the deceased Supreme Pontiff would probably have entrusted them.”

“In such circumstances,” he stated, “they will be able to decide ‘per modum provisionis,’ until the election of the Pope, what they judge to be most fitting and appropriate for the preservation and defense of ecclesiastical rights and traditions.”

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