VATICAN CITY (RNS) The tradition of voting for the new pontiff in the Sistine Chapel dates back to the Renaissance, but the location of the voting didn’t become a fixed feature of the conclaves until the 19th century — and only with John Paul II’s rules did the Sistine Chapel become the official theater of papal elections.
The 77-million-member Anglican Communion is getting a new leader. Later this month, Justin Welby will take his seat as the new Archbishop of Canterbury, spiritual leader to Anglicans and Episcopalians around the world. Kim Lawton was in the UK this week and spoke with Welby about this important moment in these two Christian traditions. Video courtesy Religion & Ethics Newsweekly
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VATICAN CITY (RNS) While the Holy Spirit may be getting more efficient in producing shorter papal conclaves, behavioral scientists say a more pronounced “bandwagon effect” is now as powerful as any electioneering did before.
VATICAN CITY (RNS) The Vatican has pulled the plug on daily briefings from American cardinals, fueled by growing resentment among Italian cardinals and others that the process to elect the next pope was starting to look like an American-style political campaign.
(RNS) The last Pope Benedict to resign, Benedict IX, was an infamous rake who sold the papacy. But like his 21st-century namesake, Benedict IX forces Catholics to mind the gap between the mortal man and the sacred papal office.
Bishop Paprocki of Springfield, Ill., is known as a Catholic culture warrior to many but he is also a Rome-trained canon lawyer. In a memo that Pia de Solenni passes along, with his nihil obstat, Paprocki gives his opinion on a number of interesting issues stemming from Pope Benedict XVI’s unusual resignation — one of his views being that the talk of “abdication” is silly and the best and proper word is “resignation.” (Guess the bishop just doesn’t “get” religion, eh tmatt?)
(The bishop also shows himself to be in the dynamic equivalency rather than literal translation camp — at least on this issue.)
More intriguing, however, is his note that the word “pope” actually does not appear in canon law, and that Benedict never used it in his resignation address. The lesson Paprocki draws from this may be a matter of debate — that since it is a title, Benedict, even when he becomes Joseph Ratzinger on Feb. 28, should still be called “pope” and addressed as “Your Holiness.”
VATICAN CITY (RNS) As of 8 p.m. Thursday, the Vatican will go into “sede vacante” mode — a Latin expression that means that the seat of St. Peter is vacant. Here’s what will happen and who rules the church during the “interregnum” between two popes.