I know I’ve posted this before, at least on my Rome blog, but I love it for so many reasons.

Below is the official press bulletin from the Holy See Press Office on April 16, 2005.

Today, Saturday, April 16 the twelfth General Congregation took place in the presence of 143 cardinals.

After the prayer “Adsumus,” Cardinal Edward Cassidy, who had just arrived, took the oath.

The Cardinal Camerlengo Eduardo Martínez Somalo presented, in everyone’s name, best wishes to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Dean of the College of Cardinals, on the occasion of his birthday.

Indications were given concerning entrance into the Domus Sanctae Marthaeon Sunday the 17th in the afternoon, for the Mass “for the election of the Supreme Pontiff ” on Monday April 18 at 10 a.m. and for entrance into conclave, the same day, at 4:30 p.m.

The cardinal dean read messages from several cardinals who were not able to come to Rome. They thanked everyone for the words of closeness and affection sent to them by the cardinal dean in the name of everyone in the College of Cardinals.

The cardinal camerlengo proceeded to the destruction of the Fisherman’s Ring and the lead seal as foreseen by the Apostolic Constitution ‘Universi Dominici gregis’ in art 13g.

After having commented on several points of the very same Apostolic Constitution, there was an exchange of ideas on the problems of the Church and the world.

The Regina Coeli prayer closed the last General Congregation.

First, I think there’s a lot of humor packed in that seemingly-impersonal, unemotional press release.  I picture Cardinal Cassidy getting off his plane from Australia after getting lost over Asia somewhere, all flustered because he’s arriving after everyone else.  [I’m not saying that happened.  But it’s humorous to think about.] And I smile when I think of all the Cardinals sitting around, waiting to elect the next Holy Father.  What a way to celebrate your 78th birthday, huh?  Unless you realize that you just might be the one elected.  Eek.

I like the fact that they recognized Cardinal Ratzinger’s birthday.  I guess I tend to think men don’t think about stuff like that.

I like the little peek into what goes on before a conclave commences — the destroying of the ring, the greetings from the Cardinals not present, etc.

And it makes me chuckle the way they say so matter-of-factly that after they commented a bit on John Paul’s apostolic constitution about the election of his predecessor, they then exchanged ideas over the “problems in the Church and the world.”  Sure, let’s just throw some things out there.  You know, make some conversation, some light discussion.  And then well, it’s noon. Time for the Regina Coeli. Signing off.

It would be fun to be a fly on the wall at a meeting like that.

Happy Birthday, Pope Benedict!

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