.- The Vatican Press Office director denied media reports that the official meetings of the cardinals, known as General Congregations, ended with the discussion of names to succeed Pope John Paul II.
“In no congregation were names ever brought up,” Joaquin Navarro-Valls told the press Saturday. He said 143 cardinals participated in the 12th and last General Congregation April 16.
During the meeting, Cardinal Camerlengo Eduardo Martinez Somalo destroyed the Fisherman's Ring, which belonged to Pope John Paul II, and the lead seal, as per the Apostolic Constitution Universi Dominici gregis, said Navarro-Valls.
"The climate of these congregations has been one of great familiarity,” he said. “This has been perhaps an expression of the great responsibility that all the cardinals feel at this time. That allowed them to find great consensus on the general themes faced in the discussions.”
During the meeting, and on behalf of all the cardinals, Cardinal Somalo also wished Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, dean of the College of Cardinals, best wishes for his birthday.