ROME,(Zenit.org) – The conclave that will elect Benedict XVI’s successor will have 117 members on the day his resignation becomes official, at the end of this month.
There are 61 Europeans, 19 Latin Americans, 14 North Americans, 11 Africans, 11 Asians and one from Oceania among the voters. Benedict XVI will not participate in the conclave.
The country with the greatest number of cardinal-electors is Italy, with 21. Sixty-seven of the electors were created by Benedict XVI and the remaining 50 by John Paul II.
The conclave will proceed according to the rules of “Ordo Rituum Conclavis,” established by Pope John Paul II’s apostolic constitution “Universi Dominici Gregis.”
During the time between the Holy Father’s resignation and the election of the next pontiff, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, as the cardinal camerlengo, will have the fundamental role in governing the Church.
While the conclave is ongoing, the cardinals reside within the Vatican. They are not permitted any contact with the outside world.
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, reported that Benedict XVI will go to the papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo when he leaves office on Feb. 28. After that he will reside in a cloistered monastery within the Vatican walls.