The College of Cardinals today kicked off the pre-conclave sessions known as “general congregations,” but have yet to set a date for the start of the conclave. One of their first decisions was to write a message to retired Pope Benedict. The text was being worked on, and presumably would have to be approved before it’s sent. The cardinals took care of housekeeping details, then had a 30-minute coffee break. In the morning’s final 45 minutes, 13 cardinals asked to speak on various matters, focusing mainly on the upcoming calendar of events – no doubt the date of the conclave was at the top of the list. Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College
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