‘Trust the Holy Spirit’ Local Catholics sound off on hopes for next pope

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‘Trust the Holy Spirit’ Local Catholics sound off on hopes for next pope

Local believe the cardinals will elect the right pope for the times
The Rev. Joseph “Larry” Gallegos and Deacon Toby Romero conduct morning Mass at Sacred Heart Catholic Church on Feb. 27. Gallegos joins other American priests who hope healing will occur after the sexual-abuse scandals of the last decade as the College of Cardinals prepares to elect a new pope.
Sixth-, seventh- and eighth grade students from St. Columba Catholic School wait their turn to rehearse the school’s Passion Play in the sanctuary of St. Columba Church on Tuesday morning. It’s a school tradition for the middle school-aged students to present the story of the death and Resurrection of Christ during Lent.
Rex Gwinn, a seventh-grade student at St Columba School, carries a cross at St. Columba Church on Tuesday morning as students rehearse their upcoming Passion Play. Durango’s Catholics will join others from around the world as the church’s cardinals gather in Rome to elect a new pope.
Choosing a pope

The Roman Catholic Church is currently in a period called the interregnum or sede vacante, when St. Peter’s throne is vacant. The church is being guided by the College of Cardinals, which also will elect Benedict XVI’s successor. Only cardinals who are younger than 80 are eligible to vote, and they are called cardinal electors. Their number is limited to a maximum of 120, but only 116 are eligible to vote in 2013 since Cardinal Keith O’Brien of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, Scotland, resigned last week and said he would not take part in the election.

All cardinals are welcome during the general congregation, which is taking place now. The congregation is a time of both formal and informal meetings, when the timing and rules of the voting are established, the cardinals discuss the opportunities and challenges the new pope will face, and the merits of possible candidates are discussed.

After a Mass asking for guidance from the Holy Spirit, the cardinal electors go into conclave, or seclusion in the Sistine Chapel for the voting process. This will be the 75th conclave since the practice began in 1295.

A prospective pope must receive two-thirds of the votes to be elected, which can take numerous ballots over many days. Every time a balloting is unsuccessful, the ballots are burned with chemicals that produce a black plume of smoke, as an indication to the faithful that no pope has yet been elected.

Once a candidate receives an adequate number of votes, he is asked if he wants to accept his election. If he accepts, the ballots are burned with chemicals that produce a white plume of smoke, he chooses his papal name and is dressed in the papal vestments. The senior cardinal deacon, currently French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, will proceed to the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica and announces “Habemus Papam,” “We have a pope.” The new pope then comes out to impart his blessing on the world.

The cardinals may be feeling some pressure, as many Catholics would like to see a new pope in time for Easter.

Eight cardinal electors will be from the United States.

To learn more about the election of a pope, what happens inside a conclave and other details, visit the website of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops at www.usccb.org.



U.S. Conference Of Catholic Bishops

‘Trust the Holy Spirit’ Local Catholics sound off on hopes for next pope

The Rev. Joseph “Larry” Gallegos and Deacon Toby Romero conduct morning Mass at Sacred Heart Catholic Church on Feb. 27. Gallegos joins other American priests who hope healing will occur after the sexual-abuse scandals of the last decade as the College of Cardinals prepares to elect a new pope.
Sixth-, seventh- and eighth grade students from St. Columba Catholic School wait their turn to rehearse the school’s Passion Play in the sanctuary of St. Columba Church on Tuesday morning. It’s a school tradition for the middle school-aged students to present the story of the death and Resurrection of Christ during Lent.
Rex Gwinn, a seventh-grade student at St Columba School, carries a cross at St. Columba Church on Tuesday morning as students rehearse their upcoming Passion Play. Durango’s Catholics will join others from around the world as the church’s cardinals gather in Rome to elect a new pope.
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