Weather in Rome

Weather Icon

Lombardi: Tomorrow probably black smoke

The first smoke, waiting after 20 tomorrow, will have difficulty ‘success since the first vote. This was announced by the director of the Vatican press office, Father Federico Lombardi, the press briefing.

With the tenth general congregation closed this morning in the Vatican ended the work of the General Congregations, a sort of ‘pre-conclave’ of cardinals, electors and not in anticipation of the election of the new pope. In the classroom of the great synod at the Vatican were 152 cardinals, while there were 28 cardinals interventions that have increased the number of contributions made by them to 161.

The surprise came after a week of General Congregations, during the last meeting before the Conclave on Tuesday afternoon: this morning, the former Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, held in front of the Cardinals together a “summary” report on the IOR, the Vatican bank, and the steps taken by the Vatican to meet the standards of financial transparency and the fight against money laundering, starting with the inspections Moneyval. Bertone fact remains chairman of the supervisory committee of cardinals on IOR.

That IOR is an issue on which the cardinal had requested light over the past few days. The Vatican spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, during his daily briefing with reporters, said that the members of the Sacred College the “situation of the IOR is not the main criterion for the election of a new pope.”

However, he added, “we met with the Board also wishes to receive information” and the Vatican bank, the scandals and controversies from which it was surrounded in recent months, “is a theme that we often talk about”, and on which the members of the Board wanted news.

Lombardi also stated that the personal secretary of Pope Benedict XVI, Monsignor Georg Gaenswein, appointed a few months ago prefect of the Pontifical Household, will participate tomorrow in the entrance procession in the Sistine Chapel, as foreseen by the Apostolic Constitution “Universi Dominici Gregis”. Gaenswein was these days in Castel Gandolfo with the Pope and retired after the” extra omnes’, “he had said that he would be” with Pope Ratzinger, said Lombardi.

During the last meeting of the cardinals before entering the Sistine Chapel, took the floor are 28 cardinals, a sign that many of the cardinals wanted more action, especially to discuss the profile of the future pope. However, although there were still some cardinals who had expressed a desire to speak, Lombardi pointed out that a majority of about two-thirds the Board has decided not to continue with the Congregations this afternoon.

For the Vatican spokesman, the end of the morning, some cardinals “seemed almost give up talking,” realizing that their action would not have a big “impact” and that the consensus among the cardinals was that the phase of the discussions’ meeting was “accomplished” . In fact, he added Lombardi, numerous “expressed satisfaction with the exchange of information and the possibility” of the past week.


This afternoon, the Conclave begins to warm up the engines with the oath of secrecy of auxiliary staff – about ninety people including ceremonies, religious men and women involved in the sacristy for religious confessions of the cardinals, doctors and nurses, staff canteen and cleaning in Santa Marta, service workers, technicians, drivers of the bus that will bring each day the Cardinals back and forth from the Sistine Chapel, the men of the Swiss Guard and the Gendarmerie security guards, in addition to the College of Cardinals secretary, Monsignor Lorenzo Baldisseri, and the papal master of ceremonies Guido Marini. The oath is in front of the Camerlengo, Cardinal Bertone.

Finally, anticipating the lineup of events at the time of the election of the new pope, Lombardi has attracted the attention of an innovation introduced this year: Before you leave the Benediction Loggia, the newly-elected Pope, leaving the Sistine , stop for a moment of prayer solitary and silent in the Pauline Chapel. A moment of silence before starting what is probably the most difficult job in the world.

More articles from our blog