The Papal Apartment was sealed up in Vatican City late Thursday night, just hours after Pope Benedict XVI abdicated his position and retired from public life. The ritual involves taping up the doors to the former pope’s bedroom and study, and then tying one of the doors with a symbolic red ribbon—a sign that nothing should be disturbed until a successor is chosen.
Overseeing the entire process was the man who will be running the Vatican until the next pontiff is chosen. His name is Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone.
78-year-old Cardinal Bertone is the Vatican’s Secretary of State—the number two to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI—and now, he’s taken control of the Apostolic Palace, until a new pope is elected.
An Italian newspaper reported last week that he was pushing the name of New York’s Cardinal — Timothy Dolan — as a papal candidate.
The Cardinals assembled in Rome received a letter Friday from Angelo Cardinal Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, asking them to meet this Monday, March 4, for a “general congregation”.
On Monday, they could set the date for the secret conclave that will elect the next pope.