Pope changes conclave rules
Gathering to elect successor will take place sooner25 February, 13:45
(ANSA) - Rome, February 25 - Pope Benedict XVI on Monday issued a decree changing the rules of the conclave electing his successor. The rule change allows the conclave to take place sooner than the mandatory 15 days from a papacy's end, and so before mid-March, the Vatican said.
"The cardinals will be permitted to bring forward the start of the conclave, if they are all present," said the decree, called 'motu proprio' in Latin. Benedict, who stunned the world February 11 by announcing he would become the first pope in almost 600 years to abdicate, steps down Thursday February 28 at 20:00 Italian time (19:00 GMT).