VATICAN CITY — On their third day of pre-conclave meetings, the cardinals began to develop the profile of what the next pope needs to look like.
The principal themes of recent meetings were “the Church in today’s world, the New Evangelization, the Holy See, the dicasteries and their relations with the bishops, and what’s beginning to emerge is a profile of the next pope,” Father Federico Lombardi told the press March 6.
For the first time, a recommended limit of five minutes was placed on the length of comments cardinals could make, resulting in 18 different talks during the three-hour gathering.
Thus far, cardinals from all over the world have made 51 talks during the course of the four sessions.
The College of Cardinals voted March 6 to add an afternoon session for Thursday, after having earlier voted to not hold them on Tuesday and Wednesday, allowing the cardinals more time to meet with each other informally.
Father Lombardi also provided an update on the number of cardinals present in Rome for the eventual conclave.
Four more cardinals arrived at the Vatican, bringing the total number in attendance to 153. The count for cardinals who can vote in the conclave rose to 113, just two shy of the expected 115.
Polish Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz of Warsaw arrived yesterday, and Cardinal Jean-Baptiste Pham Minh Man of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, was to land in Rome on March 7.
As the decision on the date of the conclave to elect the new pope nears, workers are erecting a platform in the Sistine Chapel, setting up the two stoves used to burn the ballots and send up smoke and sewing together cloth wall hangings.