College of Cardinals Meet for the Second Day of Planning

The College of Cardinals met for the second day of talks to prepare for the conclave to elect a successor to Pope John Paul II, Tuesday.

While the Cardinals, who are sworn to secrecy, did not comment on the details of their meeting, Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said after the meeting that the cardinals are still in the process of deciding the date for the conclave.

According to Mark Brumley, author on Pope John Paul II and president of the largest Catholic book publishing company in America, Church law mandates the conclave to be held some 15 to 20 days from the death of the pope, and a decision must be made with a two-thirds majority vote.

However, should the cardinals be deadlocked after 12 days of votes, they may change the rules and elect a successor with a simple majority.

As of Tuesday, the cardinals had not yet read John Paul’s spiritual testament, according to statements made by Navarro-Valls to the press. Rather, the princes of the Vatican spent the day working out details of Friday’s funeral, during which John Paul will be laid to rest near the traditional tomb of the first pope, St. Peter.

Also according to Navarro-Valls, 91 of the 183 cardinals were in Rome as of Tuesday; only 117 of them will vote in the conclave, which is restricted to those under 80 years of age only.