The conclave to elect the successor of Benedict XVI will begin between 15 and 19 March. The Vatican spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi made the announcement, adding that the new Pope would serve before the Holy Week.
“The conclave can not start before March 15, it must begin on 15, 16, 17, 18 or 19,” said Lombardi after quoting the rules of Canon Law, which provides for the holding between a “minimum of 15 days and a maximum of 20 days” after the Holy Father leaves office, by choice, on February 28th. However, the conclave cardinals will set the final date.
Among the 118 cardinals who will vote to choose the new head of the Catholic Church, 19 are Latin Americans who are under 80 years, age limit to participate in the election and even receive designation as successor to Pope Benedict XVI.
Of the 19 Latin American cardinals, five are Brazilian, three Mexicans, two Argentineans, a Chilean, a Peruvian, a Bolivian, a Cuban, a Dominican, a Honduran, a Venezuelan, an Ecuadorian and a Colombian. Jorge Mario Bergoglio (Argentina), Leonardo Sandri (Argentina), Julio Terrazas Sandoval (Bolivia), Geraldo Majella Agnelo (Brazil), Raymundo Damasceno Assis (Brazil), João Braz de Aviz (Brazil), Claudio Hummes (Brazil), Odilo Pedro Scherer (Brazil), Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa (Chile), Ruben Dario Salazar Gomez (Colombia), Jaime Ortega y Alamino (Cuba), Raul Vela Chiriboga (Ecuador), Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga (Honduras), Norberto Rivera Carrera (Mexico), Francisco Robles Ortega (Mexico), Juan Sandoval Iniguez (Mexico), Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne (Peru), Nicolas de Jesus Lopez Rodriguez (Dominican Republic) and Jorge Liberato Urosa Savino (Venezuela).