Although no date has yet been set for the papal conclave, during which the new pope will be elected, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi says that, through the speeches given by the cardinals during the Congregation sessions, “the profile for the future pope” is emerging.
Lombardi, who attends the Congregation sessions, reports that, on Wednesday, there were 18 “interventions” from different cardinals representing the Church in various parts of the world, bringing the total number of speeches to 51 thus far. The spokesman said that, due to the large number of cardinals wishing to speak, a time frame of five minutes was set for each intervention.
According to Lombardi, the main themes discussed by the cardinals suggest a profile of the individual they are looking for to lead the Church, the man who will address these priorities. The spokesman said that the main themes thus far were: the Church in the world, the needs of the New Evangelization, the Holy See, the different dicasteries, or administrative departments of the Vatican, and relations with local churches and bishops.
The New Evangelization refers to the Church’s call to deepen faith, believe in the Gospel message, and proclaim it, despite the advancement of secularization. Pope Benedict XVI, now Pope Emeritus, urged bringing the Gospel message of faith “to those regions awaiting the first evangelization and to those regions where the roots of Christianity are deep but who have experienced a serious crisis of faith due to secularization.”
The themes focused on the Holy See and the dicasteries suggest questions about organizational issues within the Vatican.
Lombardi noted that the cardinals have decided to hold congregation sessions twice per day, both morning and afternoon. The last cardinal scheduled to arrive for the congregation sessions and conclave is Vietnamese Cardinal Pham, who is expected on Thursday.