Papal Conclave Still Unknown As Cardinals Meet Behind Closed Doors
Updated: Updated 03/04/2013 08:35 PM
By: Vivian Lee
Cardinals are gathering in Rome to decide when the conclave to elect a new pope should begin, and are also discussing what needs to be done to put an end to the sex scandals that have rocked the church. NY1's Vivian Lee, who is in Vatican City following the events, filed the following report.
VATICAN CITY – On Monday morning, American cardinals and others from around the world headed into their first official meeting to discuss the when and how of electing their next leader. New York's Timothy Dolan said he's hoping for a relatively quick process.
"We need to get a new pope and we want to get back home to do our work," Dolan said.
Spokesmen for the U.S. contingent told the press during a midday break that many cardinals want the next pope to be a guardian for victims of sexual abuse by clergy. This, after cases and prosecutions in the U.S. and other countries left the church with what one cardinal from Chicago called a "wound to the body of the Church."
It's a wound the next pope will have to act decisively to heal.
"He obviously must accept the universal law now, which is zero tolerance for anyone who has ever abused a minor, and cannot remain in the public ministry of the church," said Cardinal Francis George of Chicago.
This candor before the press on the nature but not the detail of a cardinals' meeting is new. In the past, a gag order usually came with any gathering of cardinals. But experts say a flurry of issues have put the church in crisis mode. And sexual misconduct is just one of them.
"By now we've heard of the Vati-leaks case and the butler and the allegations of corruption and blackmail that are there, these kinds of thing have to be looked at part of that is how the Vatican runs, with allegations it's run inefficiently and it's losing money," said Dennis Coday, editor of the National Catholic Reporter.
As for when the conclave to elect a new pope will start, Vatican spokesman Reverend Thomas Rosica said the first meeting produced no consensus.
Twelve voting cardinals could not make it to the first General Congregation, as the meeting is called, so they need time to get to Vatican City. In addition, former Pope Benedict XVI's ring and seal have not yet been destroyed, according to custom.
The cardinals' next meeting is Tuesday morning.
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