The Holy See is officially vacant with the retirement of Pope Emeritas Benedict taking effect at 8:00 p.m. Feb. 28.
The cardinals of the Catholic Church have all been summoned to the first General Congregation which will begin on Monday, March 4 at the Synod of Bishops Hall. A second General Congregation will be held in the afternoon.
General Congregations are held prior to the start of the conclave. All cardinals are required to attend.
During a press briefing today, Jesuit Father Federrico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office said no information was available regarding the number of Cardinals present in Rome now, many are still arriving. He stated that it is highly unlikely that the date of the start of the conclave will be announced on Monday. The conclave is to be held in mid-march. The Catholic Church hopes to have a new pontif elected before Holy Week for Holy Week celebrations.
Source: Zenit News Agency