Cardinals hold 2nd day of pre-conclave meetings
Eight remaining cardinal electors expected later on Tuesday05 March, 12:18
(ANSA) - Vatican City, March 5 - Catholic cardinals on Tuesday embarked on their second day of pre-conclave meetings, the "general congregations", at the Vatican.
The meetings enable the cardinals to get to know each other better, share ideas about what characteristics the next leader of the Catholic Church should have and establish a date for the conclave to elect Benedict XVI's successor.
Over 140 cardinals are taking part in the congregations, but fewer, 115, will participate in the conclave because only those under 80 are eligible to vote.
Only one congregation will take place on Tuesday and on Wednesday after two were held on the first day, Monday. The eight cardinal electors who have not yet arrived in Rome are expected to land later on Tuesday.
All of the electoral cardinals must be present for the date of the conclave to be set. Therefore, it is possible that a date will be announced after Wednesday's congregation.
Monday March 11 is seen by many experts as the day the conclave is likely to start. Benedict, 85, stepped down as pontiff last week saying he did not have the mental and physical strength to continue in a position that is usually for life.