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Friday, March 1, 2013


Vatican City, 1 March 2013 (VIS) - Today, the first day of the Sede Vacante, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, has begun to summon the cardinals to the first of the General Congregations, as provided for by the Apostolic Constitution “Universi Dominici Gregis”.

This first General Congregation will take place on Monday, 4 March, at 9:30am in the Synod of Bishops Hall. A second General Congregation is also scheduled for 5:00pm in the same place.

Following is the text of the letter:

As prescribed in the Apostolic Constitution “Universi Dominici Gregis” of 22 February 1996 at No. 19, analogous to the case of the death of the Supreme Pontiff, I have the duty to officially communicate to Your Eminence the news of the vacancy of the Apostolic See from the renunciation presented by Pope Benedict XVI effective from yesterday evening, 28 February, at 8:00pm in Rome.”

On communicating this to you I fulfil my duty of summoning Your Eminence to the first of the General Congregations of the College of Cardinals, to be held on Monday, 4 March, at 9:30am in the Synod of Bishops Room in the Paul VI Hall.”

The General Congregations will then continue normally until the complete number of Cardinal electors is gathered and the College of Cardinals decides the date for those Cardinal electors to enter into Conclave on the basis of what the recent Motu Proprio of 22 February established regarding modifications in the norms relating to the election of the Roman Pontiff.”

On my part, I am pleased to take this opportunity to send you my fraternal greetings.”

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