Good news today from the Vatican press office: the powers-that-be have decided to brief reporters during the cardinals’ daily pre-conclave meetings, which will probably begin March 4.
As I argued in my post yesterday (below), a news blackout on the cardinals’ meetings, called “general congregations,” would have simply fed the spiraling journalistic speculation about the coming conclave. The conclave remains a secret process, of course, but there was room for flexibility in the run-up meetings, when the cardinals will discuss priorities, directions and challenges for the church.
The Vatican spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, told reporters today that journalists would be briefed not only on logistical decisions made by the cardinals but would also be given “synthetic” summaries of the larger themes discussed.
Lombardi also said the cardinals could decide to meet twice a day, in morning and afternoon sessions. The official convocation will go out to cardinals March 1, the first full day of the “sede vacante,” so the first general congregation is not expected before Monday, March 4.