Pope Benedict XVI is considering making some changes to the conclave rules and rituals before he leaves office on February 28, the Vatican spokesman confirmed, reports the Catholic News Service.
Father Federico Lombardi told reporters yesterday that any papal document is more likely to deal with possible discrepancies between the apostolic constitution governing the election of popes and the ritual handbook for carrying out the election than with questions over when the conclave can begin.
The pope is considering issuing a document "in the next few days, obviously before the 'sede vacante' begins, to clarify some particular points that have arisen in the last few years about the apostolic constitution on the conclave," Fr Lombardi said.
"I do not know if he will find it necessary or opportune to make a clarification about the timing of the beginning of the conclave," he said.
"We'll have to see if and when this document will be published," he added.
Under the rules established in the apostolic constitution "Universi Dominici Gregis" on the vacancy of the papacy and the election of a pope, cardinals in Rome "must wait 15 full days for those who are absent" before they can enter into a conclave and begin the process of electing a new pope.
The question has arisen, including among leaders of the College of Cardinals, whether the 15-day rule applies if all the cardinals are in Rome before that.
Pope considers last-minute changes to conclave rules (CNS)
Pope may change conclave rules before leaving Vatican (Yahoo7)