Vatican City, Feb 24, 2013 / 15:16 pm
Pope Benedict XVI will issue a motu proprio on Feb. 25, clearing the way for the College of Cardinals to choose a date in early March to begin the conclave for electing his successor.
According to sources at the Vatican, Pope Benedict plans to publish a declaration on Monday that will enable the cardinals to select a date that is earlier than the 15-day waiting period currently required by Church law.
The director of the Holy See press office, Father Federico Lombardi, confirmed last week that the Pope was studying the possibility of issuing a motu proprio – a papal document that changes Church law – to address some issues that have been raised by the pontiff resigning instead of dying.
The primary item that will be addressed is the timing of the conclave. John Paul II's "Universi Dominici Gregis" established that it should not be sooner than 15 days after the death of the Pope, but the case of an abdication with advanced notice was not foreseen. There are also housekeeping items such as securing the Pope's belongings and other points of procedure.