First pre-conclave swearing-in this evening at the Vatican

Cardinals discuss qualities necessary in next Pope

Carabinieri policemen patrol around the Vatican as cardinals prepare to elect a new Pop in Vatican City. Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Carabinieri policemen patrol around the Vatican as cardinals prepare to elect a new Pop in Vatican City. Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

 

The 90 staff who will assist at the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI are being sworn in at the the Vatican. These technical, catering and transport staff will assist the 114 cardinal electors who will gather at the Sistine Chapel for the first time at 4.30 tomorrow.

Cardinal Keith O’Brien, who is entitled to take part in such conclaves until March 17th 2018, when he will be 80, has decided not to take part this week. He resigned as Archbishop of St Andrew’s and Edinburgh earlier this month when it emerged he had behaved inappropriately with four siminarians, three of who are priests and one of whom has left the priesthood.

Earlier this afternoon the final and 10th general congregation of the College of Cardinals concluded at the Paul VI hall in the Vatican. The 152 cardinals present heard a report on the Vatican bank from its president and Secretary of State Cardinal Bertone while the remainder of the session was taken up with discussion on qualities required in the next Pope.

Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi said at a press conference this afternoon that 28 cardinals spoke at this morning’s general congregation, bringing the total of interventions by cardinals in the 10 such congregations to 161.

Tomorrow morning the pre-conlave Mass will take place at 10 o’clock be in St Peter’s Basilica where the homily will be delivered by the Dean of the College of Cardinals, Cardinals Angelo Sodano.

The 114 cardinal electors will arrive in the Sistine chapel at 4.30 p.m. where each will swear an oath individually on the bible to preserve the secrecy of proceedings. The first vote and only vote of the day will take place tomorrow evening with smoke expected from the Sistine chimney at 8 p.m. It is not expected to be white.

It was disclosed at today’s press conference that 5,600 media from around the world have been accredited to report on this conclave.