Preparations for electing Roman Catholicism’s new leader have begun in earnest with the College of Cardinals gathering at the Vatican.
It will be meeting daily for talks over the next few days to determine the candidates and qualities necessary.
The goal is to have the new pope elected during the next week and officially installed several days later so he can preside over the Holy Week ceremonies, starting with Palm Sunday.
Argentinian Cardinal Leonardo Sandri said the next pope should be saintly and of vigorous health but also able to choose a good team to help him run the Church: “A pope has to have a certain vigour, a certain physical resistance, a certain capacity to be able to stand up to the many appointments that a pope must undertake. He must also be a great communicator; someone who has a gift of being able to express himself well to others.”
The list of challenges facing the crisis-hit Catholic church could take weeks to debate but for now those issues must take a back seat.
Our correspondent in Rome, Fabien Farge says the College of Cardinals gives the church a chance for renewal: “It’s also an opportunity to assess what state the church is in today, its problems, what it must become and to discuss the highly anticipated leader it must choose within the next few days.”