.- 137 cardinals from around the world gathered this morning at the Vatican for their 8th General Congregation in preparation for the election of a new pope.
Among other plans, they announced the closing of the papal apartments with the seal of the Apostolic Camera, and the reception of condolences from the diplomatic corps scheduled for tomorrow.
Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls noted in a statement today that, "After the opening prayer and the swearing of the oath by Cardinal Jean Margeot, who just arrived today, several decisions were communicated on the matter of expenses that are incurred during the period of the vacant see, as well as indications on the transportation of the cardinals from the Domus Sanctae Marthae to the Sistine Chapel and back.”
"Cardinal Sergio Sebastiani”, he wrote, “informed the cardinals on the consolidated financial statements of the Holy See for 2004, and on several particulars of the consolidated budget for 2005.”
After a discussion on several articles of the Apostolic Constitution 'Universi Dominici gregis, Navarro-Valls added that, the Congregation “began an exchange of ideas on the general situation of the Church in the World and on the Holy See.”
"After the cardinal camerlengo informed the General Congregation about the definitive closing of the pontifical apartment with the placement of the seals of the Apostolic Camera, the meeting concluded with the recitation of the Regina Coeli.”
The press director said that, "As was previously announced, tomorrow morning, April 13 at 10 a.m. in the atrium of the Paul VI Hall, the cardinals will receive the condolences of the diplomatic corps.”
Likewise, he noted that the Vatican grottoes would be opened tomorrow morning at 7a.m. for faithful wishing to visit the grave of Pope John Paul II.