This morning, the Cardinals gathered in Synod Hall for the First General Congregation of Cardinals. Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi ,Director of the Vatican press office, updated journalists.
The Congregation was headed by Cardinals Angelo Sodano, Dean of the Collage of Cardinals; Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Camerlengo of the Apostolic Chamber; and Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri, Secretary of the Congregation of Bishops.
The Congregation was opened with the prayer "Veni Sancte Spiritus" (Come Holy Spirit). The meeting was translated into five languages ( Spanish, English, Italian, German and French). Although 207 Cardinals were expected, 142 were present. Of these 103 will vote for the election of the new Pontiff.
The Catholic Cardinals proclaimed the following oath in unison:
“We, the Cardinals of Holy Roman Church, of the Order of Bishops, of Priests and of Deacons, promise, pledge and swear, as a body and individually, to observe exactly and faithfully all the norms contained in the Apostolic Constitution Universi Dominici Gregis of the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II, and to maintain rigorous secrecy with regard to all matters in any way related to the election of the Roman Pontiff or those which, by their very nature, during the vacancy of the Apostolic See, call for the same secrecy.”
After taking the oath, each Cardinal then approached, placing their hand on the Gospels saying, "I N. Cardinal N, do promise, pledge and swear, So help me God and these Holy Gospels which I now touch with my hand."
Following the oath three cardinals were chosen by lot to assist the Camerlengo in the first three days of the congregation. Chosen were: Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re from the Order of Bishops; Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe from the Order of Priests;' and Cardinal Franc Rode from the Order of Deacons.
Source: Zenit News Agency