(Vatican Radio) Pope Benedict XVI is studying a Motu Proprio regarding norms governing
the Apostolic Constitution Universi Dominici Gregis, but “no date has been
set yet for its promulgation” and if there are changes to the Constitution governing
papal transitions and the Sede Vacante “they will probably be small ones”, announced
the Director of the Holy See press office Thursday in his latest briefing. Emer McCarthy
Fr. Lombardi was flanked by Basilian priest and Canadian native Fr. Thomas Rosica who has flown in specially to aid the Vatican spokesman over the coming week, in translating for English language press.
Together, they addressed mounting press speculation regarding a number of issues in the lead up to Pope Benedict’s resignation in exactly one weeks time. Such as the date for the beginning of the conclave.
Fr. Lombardi noted – and not for the first time – that the date is decided by the cardinals when they gather in their first Congregation. He said “the date has not yet been established for the beginning of the meetings of the Cardinals although it’s recommended that it take place as soon as possible after the beginning of the Sede Vacante, its being worked on right now and it will be announced”.
Turning to the expected Motu Proprio, he added “it has not come out yet, the Holy Father has the document. The precisions that are to be made in the document, I don’t think we can expect substantial changes. There will be some smaller points that will be identified”.
Fr. Lombardi also spoke of the fact that while the Pope may seek advise on the Motu Proprio, for example from the Apostolic camera, who are working closely with him, the fine tuning is the Pope’s own. The Pope pays attention to every single detail of his texts, often times right up until the last minute or while he is delivering a speech he may make changes. I have no doubt that the Pope would not sign something that isn’t his”.
Another important issue addressed Thursday morning regarded the deadline of February 22nd to bring to a conclusion the discussions with the Priestly Society of St Pius X. Fr. Lombardi announced that “given the extraordinary circumstances the provisions for the reconciliation of the Priestly Society of St Pius X have been entrusted to the next Pontificate”.
Finally the Vatican Press Office director confronted speculation in Italian press regarding the report drawn up by the Cardinal’s Commission of Inquiry, which was convoked by Pope Benedict in wake of the Vatileaks scandal.
Fr. Lombardi said he had spoken with Spanish Cardinal Julián Herranz Casado, who headed the inquiry together with Slovakian Cardinal Jozef Tomko and Italian Cardinal Salvatore De Giorgi. “There will be no comment, denials or confirmation of what has been written in an Italian newspaper”.
However, Fr. Lombardi called attention to points contained within the same article, regarding the last day of the pontificate of Pope Benedict and who the Pope is supposed to receive. “From the very beginning Pope Benedict XVI’s schedule for the final day has been public: a private meeting with cardinals in the Apostolic Palace and his departure via helicopter for Castel Gandolfo. Claims made in the article that he will receive anyone else are false. The claim that the Holy Father will go to St Mary Major to greet pilgrims is also incorrect and without solid foundation”.
The press briefing concluded with an invitation from Fr. Lombardi to journalists to concentrate on the last days and great encounters of Benedict XVI’s pontificate.