Friday, March 01, 2013
Long time and careful readers of the blog know that nothing fascinates us more than the Conclave of Cardinals and election of a new Pope. The former Pope having stepped down officially yesterday, the Church entered what is formally known as "Sede Vacante": "vacant seat". In this case the seat vacant is the Holy See. When the Pope resigns or dies, much more than the loss of a Pope occurs. The Church is guided in the Pope's absence by the College Of Cardinals. The Roman Curia resigns when a Pope leaves office, although Papal diplomats still continue to represent the Vatican overseas, and the Cardinal who manages the Vatican properties and collects the rents (the Cardinal Camerlengo) does not resign either. The Major Penitentiary- who is the head of the Apostolic Penitentiary- is the another of the three Vatican officials who do not resign during the Sede Vacante. The MP is the official that has jurisdiction over the absolution of excommunication; the dispensation of sacramental impediments and the issuance and governance of Church Indulgences. The other fascinating thing about the MP is that if he is a member of the College of Cardinal Electors he is only one of three electors allowed to communicate with the outside world so as to allow him to discharge his duties. The other two Cardinal Electors who can communicate with the outside world during a conclave to elect a Pope are the Vicar of Rome and the Vicar of Vatican City.
The Vatican issues a special postage stamp during these times: sede vacante stamps, and the Coat of Arms of the Holy See changes: instead of the Papal Tiara over the Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven, there is an "Umbraculum" or a little umbrella over the Keys.
All in all, it's a fascinating time.
GOODBYE STEPHEN HARPER:
One of the very best Assistant Public Defenders has left the PDs office for a new career of teaching. They don't come any better than Steve Harper and this community was lucky to have such a talented and dedicated lawyer serving the community for over two decades. Good luck Steve.
DOM is monitoring the Khan- Pakistani - terror trial deliberations. His blog covered some fascinating jury questions including whether the doctrine of separation of Church and State applied to the arrest of the Imam. Almost thirty years in this business and we still never can figure out exactly what a jury is thinking.
Cool weekend coming up. Read the blog and stay warm.