Sunday, March 03, 2013

Legal Documents To Assist In Following the Upcoming Papal Election

With the proceedings leading to the election of a new Pope scheduled to begin tomorrow, here are formal legal documents and other useful resources for following the process.

The formal rules for electing a pontiff are found in the Apostolic Constitution, On the Vacancy of the Apostolic See and the Election of the Roman Pontiff, promulgated by Pope John Paul II in 1996, as modified by the Apostolic Letter, On Certain Modifications to the Norms Governing the Election of the Roman Pontiff, promulgated by Pope Benedict XVI on Feb. 22, 2013. (An intermediate amendment to the rules promulgated by Pope Benedict XVI in 2007 (full text in French) has been superseded by his 2013 amendments.)

On March 1, Angelo Cardinal Sodano, Dean of the College of Cardinals, issued a formal letter (full text) notifying the Cardinals of the vacancy in the Apostolic See and convoking "the first of the General Congregations of the College of Cardinals, to be held Monday, March 4 at 9:30 am in Paul VI Hall, in the room of the Synod of Bishops."

The OUP Blog has posted a useful guide titled An Oxford Companion to the 2013 Papal Elections.

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