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Conclave to open on 18 April

In a public announcement yesterday afternoon, the Vatican press office reported that the cardinals had chosen 18 April for the conclave during their fourth general congregation earlier the same day.

Catholic World News reports that Press Office director Joaquin Navarro-Valls said that 116 cardinals had participated in the congregation on Wednesday. The cardinals, who act as a governing body for the Holy See during the sede vacante period, continued making arrangements for tomorrow's funeral of the Holy Father.

The conclave will begin at 10:00 in the morning of 18 April, the Vatican spokesman continued. The event will begin with a Mass pro eligendo papa in St. Peter's Basilica; then the cardinal-electors will enter the Sistine Chapel to begin the conclave.

Navarro-Valls also disclosed that the will of the late Pope John Paul had been read, and will be published today. According to a report published by the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, the will contained "nothing practical or operational" that would affect the coming conclave.

Navarro-Valls did disclose that the Pope had never revealed the identity of the cardinal whom he named in pectore at the consistory of October 2003. Thus that unknown cardinal will not have the privileges associated with his rank, and cannot participate in the papal election.

Conclave to open April 18 (Catholic World News 6/4/05)
On second day of meetings, cardinals turn attention to conclave (Catholic News Service 5/4/05)
Pope election 'will take three days' (Agence France-Presse/Daily Telegraph 6/4/05)
Cardinals Likely to Go Silent After Pope Funeral (Reuters 6/4/05)

7 Apr 2005