On the way to the Conclave. March 5, 2013

Updates of the General Congregation of the College of Cardinals and preps
by Celine Kelly | Source: www.catholic.net

With the intention to thank Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the College of Cardinals sent him a telegram which reads as follow:

To His Holiness, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Castel Gandolfo. The Cardinal Fathers, gathered at the Vatican for the General Congregations in view of the next conclave, send you their devoted greetings and express their renewed gratitude for all your illustrious Petrine ministry and for your example of generous pastoral care for the good of the Church and of the world. With their gratitude they hope to represent the recognition of the entire Church for your tireless work in the vineyard of the Lord. In conclusion, the members of the College of Cardinals trust in your prayers for them, as well as for the whole Church.


The 3 urns to receive the cardinal electors' votes, work of Cecco Bonanotte, are made of silver and gilded bronze. The iconography chosen by the artist, a shepherd & his sheep along with more subtle birds, grapes & ears of grain, show the meaning of the Pope has in the Church: the Good Shepherd who, in the name of Christ, has the duty to confirm his brothers in the faith. The symbolism of the Good Shepherd shows the charity of the exercise of the primacy. "Simon of John, do you love me?..." Peter tells him: "Lord, you know everything, you know that I love you: "Feed my lambs." (John 21:15-25) The relationship of love between Jesus and Peter and between the Pope and the Church is emphasized in the symbols of the birds, grapes and ears of grain. Eucharistic bread and wine, which are Christ, accentuate the idea of charity by the sharing of this bread and chalice.

   A plate is placed on top of the 1st urn. Each cardinal places his ballot on the plate, with which he drops it into the urn. The 2nd urn is used only for cardinals impeded by illness from leaving their rooms. The 3rd urn gathers the ballots after scrutiny, before they are burned to produce the traditional smoke announcing to the faithful in St. Peter's Square either the non-election (black smoke) or the election (white smoke) of the new Pontiff.

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