Catholic Cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church have now assembled in Rome awaiting the Conclave to elect a new Pope after the recent resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. Secret ballots will be cast and once the 2/3 majority has been reached, the anticipated white smoke (which indicates a new pope has been selected) will rise from the chapel to communicate to the world that the Chair of St. Peter has been filled. If black smoke rises during the Conclave, the vote has been inconclusive.
Since the time of Pope Gregory X, in 1274, the decree declared during the Council of Lyons that cardinals who are part of the election process should be locked in seclusion to avoid political interference during the election process. The process is one which is guided by the Holy Spirit and Cardinals are invited to pray deeply for his counsel.
Today, March 6, 2013, the Vatican has called the universal church to pray at 11 am EST for the Cardinal-Electors who will soon select a new Pope. While the official start of the Conclave has not yet been announced, the Cardinals will gather today at the Altar of the Chair in St. Peter’s Basilica for recitation of the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary, followed by Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and then Vespers and the Vatican has called on Catholics around the world to join them in prayer.
It is reported that about 5000 media credentials have been approved from 66 nations in 24 languages. The world is watching because the world is intrigued by the mystery of the Church and it is seeking answers that are ultimately only found in Jesus Christ and His Church. Some Protestant Christians are skeptical of the process but we have assurance from Christ that the Holy Spirit is with us and guides us. Why would the Holy Spirit, the Counselor, guide us in the small matters of our lives and not in the greater ones? In John 14:16-17, Jesus reminds us, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever - the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be[a] in you.”
Jesus also made certain that upon his death and resurrection we would have a successor. “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it” (Matthew 16:18).
As Catholics around the world await the Conclave and the election of Christ’s new successor, we pray to the Holy Spirit for his divine guidance and that our Cardinals prayerfully abide by his Counsel.
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