(Photo: REUTERS/Tony Gentile)
Incoming new Cardinals are seen during a consistory ceremony in Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican February 18, 2012. Pope Benedict XVI installed 22 new Roman Catholic cardinals from around the world on Saturday.
True to its tradition, it actually is just a matter of time before the Vatican steps in to tell the College of Cardinals to zip their mouths in sharing bits and pieces of information from the pre-conclave talks on account of their oath to secrecy.
Effective immediately, the American cardinals, who seemed to be more than willing to make their presence felt not only by their counterparts but likewise by the entire Catholic church, have canceled their popular daily press briefings.
Vatican told its cardinals to refrain from communicating with the media as they enter the sensitive period of the papal conclave which is now being expected to start on Monday, March 11. Only one cardinal, Vietnamese Cardinal Jean-Baptiste Pham Minh Man, is lacking to complete the 115 cardinal electors. He is expected to arrive in Rome on Thursday.
Once the Vietnamese cardinal arrives, the College of Cardinals will immediately discuss and decide the start of the papal conclave for this year 2013. They will continue to talk and pray amongst themselves, perhaps comparing notes. But the press will no longer be included in that loop.
"The process of selecting a new pope is ultimately not an election, ultimately it is a discernment," Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, retired archbishop of Washington, was quoted by Catholic News Services.
Thus, it is important that the cardinals be not swayed by the ongoings in the outside world.
"The new pope will be a fallible man elected by fallible men," Cardinal McCarrick said. The cardinals must be able to choose the best candidate based on discernment, he added.
Apart from the media briefings, cardinals who have accounts with Twitter will be also asked to temporarily shun from using the portal to communicate with the outside world during the conclave period.
Among the cardinals who have social media accounts including Twitter and Facebook are Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, Cardinal Luis Tagle of Manila, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi of Italy, Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles, Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, the archbishop of Durban, South Africa, Cardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer of Brazil, Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston,Cardinal Ruben Salazar Gomez of Colombia, Cardinal Lluis Martinez Sistach of Spain and Cardinal Angelo Scola of Milan.
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