Cardinal TARCISIO BERTONE leaves his position as secretary of state; with the interregnum the real work begins in his position as CAMERLENGO or CHAMBERLAIN of the Holy Roman Church; during the period when there is no Pope, he is charged with administering the temporal goods of the Church.

When the private residence of the Pope in Vatican City is left vacant upon the death of the Pope, or in this case, the retirement of the reigning Pope, the Pope’s apartment is sealed by a special officer of the Roman Curia, that is, the Camerlengo.

His duties include sealing the Pope’s apartment and the destruction of the Pope’s Ring of the Fisherman.

Pope Benedict’s ring was not destroyed completely; two deep cuts were made in its face, so it can no longer be used as a seal.

Benedict XVI appointed Cardinal Bertone as Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church on April 4, 2007.


On the first day of the sede vacante, Cardinal ANGELO SODANO, DEAN OF THE COLLEGE OF CARDINALS, sent out a letter summoning the cardinals to the first General Congregation.

He attends the General Congregations and presides over the Pro Eligendo Pontifice Mass as Dean of the College of Cardinals, but he cannot take part in the conclave because he is over 80.


Cardinal GIOVANNI BATTISTA RE is the SENIOR CARDINAL-ELECTOR to attend the conclave to elect the new Pope, and he is in charge of doing the work of the dean at the conclave, because Cardinal Roger Marie Élie Etchegaray, vice-dean, is over 80 too.

Seniority in the College of Cardinals is based on rank (cardinal bishops, cardinal priests and cardinal deacons) and date of incorporation into the College.


French Cardinal JEAN-LOUIS TAURAN, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, is the CARDINAL PROTODEACON.

He announces the new Pope’s election and name from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica with the Latin formula “Habemus Papam.”


On February 11, Father FEDERICO LOMBARDI, S.J., director of the Holy See Press Office, gives a briefing to journalists in the press office at 12:30 PM.

In the following days, he presented the Holy Father’s activities up to February 28 and then updated journalists on General Congregations as well.


During the briefings, the director of the Vatican Press Office, Fr. Lombardi, and Passionist vice-director Fr. CIRO BENEDETTINI were assisted by two priests, the English-speaking Canadian Fr. THOMAS ROSICA, C.S.B., and the Spanish-speaking Msgr. JOSÉ MARIA GIL TAMAYO.


GIOVANNA CHIRRI, an Italian journalist who covers the Vatican for Italy’s ANSA news agency, was the first to understand and pick up the news of the Pope’s resignation. ANSA broadcast the news at 11:46 a.m.: “Papa lascia pontificato dal 28/2”″ (The Pope will leave the papacy on Feb. 28).



On February 22, Monsignor ETTORE BALESTRERO, 46, was named apostolic nuncio to Colombia, at the same time being elevated to the dignity of archbishop and assigned to the titular see of Vittoriana. The archbishop-elect was previously serving as undersecretary for the Holy See’s Relations with States.


On February 22, Monsignor ANTOINE CAMILLERI was named undersecretary for the Holy See’s Relations with States. Monsignor Camilleri was previously a nunciature counsellor of the Secretariat of State.


A German lawyer, ERNST VON FREYBERG, has been named the new president of the Vatican bank, the Institute for Religious Works (IOR). Mr. von Freyberg brings with him a vast experience of financial matters and the financial regulatory process.

He replaces Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, who left the IOR in May.


In 2012, Benedict XVI formally created an investigative committee that included Cardinals JULIAN HERRANZ, JOZEF TOMKO, and SALVATORE DE GIORGI. They were put in charge of investigating the leaks of letters exchanged among Vatican officials and between the officials and the pontiff himself.

On February 25, the Holy Father received in audience Cardinals Herranz, Tomko, and De Giorgi (photos above) and thanked them for the helpful work they did, and expressed satisfaction at the results of the investigation. Benedict XVI decided that the acts of this investigation, known only to himself, remain solely at the disposition of the new Pope.


Roman Catholics in the US delivered a petition asking Cardinal ROGER MAHONY to stay away from the conclave in Rome to choose a new Pope.

Although his successor, Archbishop José Gomez, removed him from all public and administrative duties, Mahony announced his intention to be among 117 cardinals allowed into the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel to vote for Benedict XVI’s successor.

The former Archbishop of Los Angeles was stripped of his duties over allegations that he protected priests accused of child sex abuse.


According to a Vatican statement, Scottish Cardinal KEITH O’BRIEN resigned as Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh because of age. Additionally, he decided not to take part in electing a new Pope.

“I do not wish media attention in Rome to be focused on me — but rather on Pope Benedict XVI and on his successor,” he said.

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