ENTER CONCLAVE, BLACK SMOKE APPEARS AT 8:04 P.M.
VATICAN CITY, APR 18, 2005 (VIS) -
The 115 cardinal electors from 52 countries of 5 continents entered
into conclave in the Sistine Chapel this afternoon.
At 4:30 p.m. the cardinals gathered
in the Hall of Blessings, which is located above the atrium of St.
Peter's Basilica, and overlooks the square. It is from the central
loggia or balcony of this hall that the new pontiff appears for the
first time to the faithful.
Preceded by the Cross and followed by
the Book of Gospels, the cardinals processed to the nearby Sistine
Chapel as the Litany of Saints was sung. Once in the chapel, after
the singing of "Veni Creator," they pronounced their oath as
established by the "Ordo Rituum Conclavis."
When the master of pontifical
liturgical ceremonies declared "extra omnes," all those not involved
in the conclave left the chapel except the cardinal electors and
Cardinal Tomas Spidlik, 85 who, when he finished delivering the
second meditation, also left the chapel.
Black smoke, indicating that the
cardinals voted but that no Pope was elected, rose from the Sistine
Chapel chimney at 08:04 p.m.
LET US ASK GOD FOR A PASTOR TO LEAD US TO CHRIST
VATICAN CITY, APR 18, 2005 (VIS) - In
the Vatican Basilica this morning, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger
presided at the Mass "pro eligendo Summo Pontifice," concelebrated
by all 115 cardinal electors.
Cardinal non-electors, bishops,
priests, male and female religious, and lay people present in Rome
participated in the Eucharistic celebration.
In his homily, Cardinal Ratzinger
commented on the first reading from the Book of the prophet Isaiah,
in which the Messiah, speaking of Himself, said He was sent to
"proclaim the year of the Lord's favor, and the day of vengeance of
our God." The cardinal affirmed that "we are called to promulgate -
not only with words but with life and with the effective signs of
the Sacraments - the year of the Lord's favor." With reference to
"the day of vengeance of our God," the cardinal affirmed that "the
Lord offered an authentic commentary on these words with His death
on the Cross."
"The mercy of Christ," he went on,
"is not cut-rate grace, it does not presuppose that evil is
something banal. Jesus bears all the weight of evil, all its
destructive force, in His body and upon His soul. ... The day of
vengeance and the year of the Lord's favor come together in the
Paschal mystery, in Christ Who died and rose again. This is the
vengeance of God: He Himself, in the person of His Son, suffers for
In the second reading, taken from the
Letter to the Ephesians, St. Paul mentions "the measure of the
fullness of Christ" to which "we are called in order to truly become
adults in the faith. We must not remain children in the faith,
without coming of age. What does it mean to be children in faith?
St. Paul says that it means being 'tossed to and fro and carried
about with every wind of doctrine.' A very pertinent description!"
"How many winds of doctrine have we
known over the last few decades! How many ideological currents! How
many schools of thought! The little ship bearing the thoughts of
many Christians has frequently been shaken by these waves, thrown
from one extreme to the other: from Marxism to liberalism, even to
libertarianism; from collectivism to radical individualism; from
atheism to a vague religious mysticism; from agnosticism to
syncretism, and so on. Every day new sects arise, and St. Paul's
words concerning the deception of men and the cunning that leads
into error come true. Having a clear faith, according to the Creed
of the Church, is often labeled as fundamentalism. While relativism,
in other words allowing oneself to be 'tossed to and fro with every
wind of doctrine,' appears as the only attitude appropriate to
modern times, a dictatorship of relativism is being formed, one that
recognizes nothing as definitive and that has as its measure only
the self and its desires.
"We, nonetheless, do have another
measure: the Son of God, true man. He is the measure of true
humanism. An 'adult' faith does not follow the waves of fashion and
the latest novelties; an adult and mature faith is profoundly rooted
in friendship with Christ. ... We must bring this adult faith to
maturity, to this faith we must lead Christ's flock. And it is this
faith - faith alone - that creates unity and is realized in charity.
... In the measure in which we approach Christ, so truth and charity
come together in our lives too."
The dean of the College of Cardinals
then commented on the Gospel of St John, in which the Lord says: "No
longer do I call you servants, ... but I have called you friends."
Christ "grants us His trust" and "entrusts His body, the Church, to
us. He entrusts His truth to our weak minds and our weak hands. ...
He has made us His friends. How do we respond?"
After recalling the gospel passage
where Jesus says "I chose you and appointed you that you should go
and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide," Cardinal Ratzinger
said: "We must feel animated by holy restlessness; restlessness to
bring everyone the gift of faith, of friendship with Christ. ... We
received the faith in order to give it to others. We are priests to
serve others, and we must bear a fruit that abides."
"The only thing that remains forever
is the human soul, man created by God for eternity. The fruit that
remains is, then, what we have sown in human souls, love and
knowledge; the gesture capable of touching the heart; the word that
opens the soul to the joy of the Lord. Let us go then and pray to
the Lord that He help us bear fruit, a fruit that abides."
Cardinal Ratzinger concluded: "Let us
now, above all, insistently pray to the Lord that, after the great
gift of Pope John Paul II, He again gives us a pastor according to
the dictates of His heart, a pastor to lead us to knowledge of
Christ, to His love, to true joy."