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The New York Archdiocese says there is no modern precedent for a papal resignation like that announced Monday by Pope Benedict ...
XVI. An archdiocese spokesman says they're in a 'wait and see mode,' anticipating instructions from the Vatican. (Feb. 11)
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DURATION: 1:33SHOTLIST:AP TELEVISION - AP CLIENTS ONLYNew York, New York - February 11, 20131. SOUNDBITE: (English) Joe Zwilling, Spokesman, Archdiocese of New York:"In the past, popes have always died in office, and there was a set protocol that had been established over time for how you deal with that, with a funeral and a mourning period before the conclave started. This obviously is going to be a different set of circumstances and while we believe that the Holy See probably has a plan in place for how this is going to unfold, we have not gotten that word yet, so we're still a bit in a wait and see mode."2. White flash3. SOUNDBITE: (English) Joe Zwilling, Spokesman, Archdiocese of New York:"Conceivably, if a conclave began around February 28th, if a new pope was elected within a couple of days, as has been the precedent, then that pope would be inaugurated into his ministry well before Easter."4. White flash5. SOUNDBITE: (English) Joe Zwilling, Spokesman, Archdiocese of New York:"I know that there has been some speculation, perhaps well founded speculation that the next pope could come from someplace like Latin America or from Africa where the church is growing or the church is developing. Certainly a possibility. We would have to see. Of course, Pope Benedict put a large emphasis in his own papacy on revitalizing the church in places like Europe and the United States where it's been established but needed that jolt of energy that would bring it back to life again. So, I don't think anybody who says that they know what's going to happen in the conclave really can be listened to. Right now, it's all speculation. There is a saying, "He who goes into the conclave as the next pope comes out a cardinal."STORYLINE:Pope Benedict XVI said Monday he lacks the strength to fulfill his duties and on Feb. 28 will become the first pontiff in 600 years to resign. The announcement sets the stage for a conclave in March to elect a new leader for the world's 1 billion Catholics.But the wider Catholic Church has yet to received word from the Vatican about exactly how the resignation and conclave will proceed."In the past, Popes have always died in office, and there was a set protocol that had been established over time for how you deal with that, with a funeral and a mourning period before the conclave started," said Joe Zwilling, spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York. "This obviously is going to be a different set of circumstances... we're still a bit in a wait and see mode."The 85-year-old pope announced the bombshell in Latin during a meeting of Vatican cardinals, surprising even his closest collaborators, even though Benedict had made clear in the past he would step down if he became too old or infirm to do the job. The move allows the Vatican to hold a conclave before Easter to elect a new pope, since the traditional mourning time that would follow the death of a pope doesn't have to be observed. "If a conclave began around February 28th, if a new pope was elected within a couple of days, as has been the precedent, then that pope would be inaugurated into his ministry well before Easter," said Zwilling.It will also allow Benedict to hold great sway over the choice of his successor. He has already hand-picked the bulk of the College of Cardinals _ the princes of the church who will elect the next pope _ to guarantee his conservative legacy and ensure an orthodox future for the church.There are several papal contenders in the wings, but no obvious front-runner _ the same situation when Benedict was elected pontiff in 2005 after the death of Pope John Paul II.Zwilling acknowleged speculation that the next pope could be from Latin America or Africa, where the church is still growing and developing."Of course, Pope Benedict put a large emphasis in his own papacy on revitalizing the church in places like Europe and the United States where it's been established but needed that jolt of energy," said Zwilling.Zwilling warned against putting too much emphasis and any perceived frontrunners who may emerge leading up to the conclave. "There is a saying, 'He who goes into the conclave as the next pope comes out a cardinal,'" said Zwilling.The last pope to resign was Pope Gregory XII, who stepped down in 1415 in a deal to end the Great Western Schism among competing papal claimants. (****END****)