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Five cardinals running behind to join papal conclave

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
March 6th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Five cardinals who are part of the papal conclave to select Pope Benedict's successor are running behind. They have yet to join their contemporaries at the Vatican, and many have begun to speculate as to the delays.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "Some simply had other commitments they did not want to break (but) even the cardinals who are already here shake their heads in wonder," Father Thomas Reese, author of "Inside the Vatican: The Politics and Organization of the Catholic Church," says.

Egyptian Patriarch Antonios Naguib, and Cardinals Karl Lehmann of Germany, Jean-Baptiste Pham of Vietnam, Kazimierz Nycz of Poland and John Tong Hon of Hong Kong, had yet to join their 110 peers. The cardinals have already convened for a second day to discuss the many issues facing the Catholic Church in the wake of the first papal resignation in 600 years.

Karl Cardinal Lehmann is among the busiest - he's leading a national symposium on labor in Germany, where such symposia are widely attended.

When pressed about the reasons for their absence, Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi gave a general reply. "Everyone knows how to evaluate his commitments," Lombardi said. "They know they have the obligation and commitment to come for the conclave, and they know the congregations have begun and are making their plans to arrive."

One cardinal had an important meeting of bishops to attend to and another cardinal reported having a speaking engagement.

While there is no rule requiring their presence, but the other cardinals can't set a date for the papal conclave until the others arrive. A two-thirds majority of the cardinals is required to elect the new Pope. A semblance of consensus is critical prior to the start of official deliberations.

During the morning meeting, which lasted just over three hours, 11 cardinals stood up to address their fellow princes of the church. The most pressing issue facing the Catholic Church today is clearly management - or lack thereof - of the sprawling Vatican bureaucracy.

Lombardi refused to specify whether the discussions related directly to the leaks of Vatican documents that revealed embarrassing infighting in the Holy See.

The cardinals aired their views television on the renewal of the church in light of the Second Vatican Council, the demands of the New Evangelism and the demands of the Holy See, among other topics, a spokesman said.

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