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As cardinals meet in Rome, bishop, faithful pray in Raleigh

Posted March 4, 2013

— Bishop Michael Burbidge of the Diocese of Raleigh, the pastoral leader for millions of Roman Catholics in the eastern half of North Carolina, celebrated a special Mass Monday to pray for the cardinals who will select the new pope.

Burbidge addressed the leadership change in his homily.

"We'll pray first in thanksgiving of our pope emeritus Benedict XVI and his faithful example," Burbidge said. "Then we'll pray for those human instruments, the cardinal electors who are entrusted wtih this awesome responsibility to choose the next successor of St. Peter."

Bishop Michael Burbidge Burbidge: Raleigh praying for cardinal electors

In Rome, the date for that conclave has yet to be set, but cardinals met Monday to begin plans for it.

Of the 115 cardinals who can vote, 103 were on hand for the meeting, which over the coming days will discuss the problems of the church and give the cardinals a chance to get to know one another better.

And so they prayed together, chatted over coffee and 13 of them intervened to discuss organizational matters.

The fact that 12 more cardinals are still en route to Rome will mean a delay in setting a date for the conclave since the dean of the College of Cardinals has said a date won't be finalized until all the cardinals have arrived.

Among the first orders of business was the oath of secrecy each cardinal made, pledging to maintain "rigorous secrecy with regard to all matters in any way related to the election of the Roman Pontiff."

The cardinals then agreed to send Benedict XVI a message on behalf of the group; the text was being worked on, the Vatican said.

The core agenda item is to set the date for the conclave and put in place the procedures to prepare for it, including closing the Sistine Chapel to visitors and getting the Vatican hotel cleared out and de-bugged, lest anyone try to listen in on the secret conversations.

The first day of discussion was rocked by revelations of scandal, with Scottish Cardinal Keith O'Brien admitting that he had engaged in sexual misconduct not befitting a priest, archbishop or cardinal.

O'Brien last week resigned as archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh and said he wouldn't participate in the conclave after four men came forward with allegations that he had acted inappropriately with them — the first time a cardinal has stayed away from a conclave because of personal scandal.

Separately, the Vatican is still reeling from the fallout of the scandal over leaked papal documents, and the investigation by three cardinals into who was behind it.

In one of his last audiences before resigning, Benedict met with the three cardinals who prepared the report and decided that their dossier would remain secret. But he gave them the go-ahead to answer cardinals' questions about its contents.

Another topic facing the cardinals is the reason they're here in the first place: Benedict's resignation and its implications. His decision to end 600 years of tradition and retire rather than stay on the job until death has completely altered the concept of the papacy, and cardinals haven't shied from weighing in about what that means for the next pope.

Burbidge said that man will have to be equipped to take on those issues.

"Not to run from them, to embrace them and move forward," he prayed Monday.

He hopes the next Pope will be able to help people see the joy of living the gospel.

"We need a Holy Father who is energetic. Someone who understands the world and the resources and tools we have available to bring the truth to others," he said. 


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  • Wiser_now Mar 5, 2013

    We ALL lie and sin at times. That's what makes us human. That's why it's such a good thing we can forgive and find forgivenes from other humans and God.

  • Relic Mar 5, 2013

    "You lie. You sin. I cant stand you hypocrites."

    You are correct, sir or madam. I do lie. I do sin. I am at times a hypocrite. So are we all, even you. If you are right then I at least have lived a life in which I have tried to do the things that are good and kind to my neighbor and I have found peace in the belief of love and redemption from something greater than myself and I will end up the same as you, no poorer for my life. If my faith is right then I still leave this world in the same way but we will not end up the same way. Either way, I am thus content.

  • Relic Mar 5, 2013

    cantbetaught - Your words sound much like many I have read from centuries past. It smacks of Voltaire and so many others of the "Enlightenment". It has been heard over and over again since the days of Aristotle and the Greeks. Even Thomas Jefferson, although more of a semi-deist, said such things. And yet all across this festering, problem filled mudball people seem to try to fill a space in their lives with knowledge and "reason" but also seem to die angry, unhappy and bitter because others did not join them in their loss of hope, a spark of divinity, a hope of life being more than some cosmic fluke that produced a cognizant being with delusions of reality. There is much about Christianity that doesn't agree with my nature. But I have found it to be a happy and peaceful way for me to live.

  • Relic Mar 5, 2013

    vinylcarwraps23 - Considering the fact that most biblical scholars are still debating the meaning of the Hebrew word "Nephilim" I doubt if you could tell us. Atheists for centuries have used the interpretation of Nephilim being giant offspring of "fallen angels" and human women as "proof" that the Bible is simply a book of "fairy tales". The hoax of the "Cardiff Giant" was inspired by such an atheist. So it would follow that anyone as outspoken as an atheist would be familiar with that and all the other "unbelievable" parts of the Bible. Keep on trying to prove the non-existance of something. I have fun watching people believe themselves to be "wise" and full of "truth and reason" when indeed you prove otherwise.

  • Brian Jenkins Mar 5, 2013 lie to your own kids about a fat man in a suit that comes down your chimney. You lie. You sin. I cant stand you hypocrites. Then you cry about "liberals" then vote for a liberal named Mitt Romney. At least I believe what I say. You're a sinning liberal voter. Stop lying to your own kids. Disgusting!

  • Brian Jenkins Mar 5, 2013

    Again until you tell me who or what created your God that created all this your "opinion" is based on nothing. I bet you cant even tell me who the Nephilims were in Genesis 6:4. Oh and my IQ is high enough to get in the Air Force. I didnt have time to play in churches. I was playing to keep you safe.

  • Nancy Mar 5, 2013

    "Religon is for the weak and simple minded who are desperate and need something to fall back on." -cantbetaught

    Well, your moniker is appropriate enough I suppose, and your opinion is fine, can't you learn a better way to post it without intentionally being offensive and talk down to others? It's not hard, really. I believe you CAN be taught.

  • same ole story Mar 5, 2013

    Six-string hits it out of the park!!! It is only good religion if it ONLY agrees with them. The time for truth and reasoning is upon us. The days of myth and mystisism are over. To understand the beginning of life open up a science book. Religon is for the weak and simple minded who are desperate and need something to fall back on.

  • Wiser_now Mar 5, 2013

    @ Six String and Nancy - thanks.

  • Six String Mar 4, 2013

    Nancy wins